The Big Rapids Cardinal Baseball team opened their District Play at Chippewa Hills High School versus the Standish-Sterling Panthers last night.
Big Rapids used their dynamic duo of Seniors Keaton Ballard & Sawyer Meeuewes to keep the Panthers in check long enough to secure the Play-In victory.
Ballard got the win to move to 10-4 on the season while Meeuewes & his .469 ERA/.838 WHIP notched his first save.
To get the scoring started, Grant Kidder led off for the Cardinals with a triple before Senior Eric Standen knocked him in with an RBI groundout. An Austin Vennix walk, Keaton Ballard single, and Sawyer Meeuewes Sac Fly would tack on another 1st Inning run to give BR the early 2-0 lead.
No further runs would score for either side until the 4th when Big Rapids would load the bases with 1 out. Grant Kidder once again came through with a Suicide Squeeze to make it 3-0.
The Panthers responded in their next top half with a walk & 2 singles to knock Ballard off the mound. With Meeuewes pitching, Standish's Chase Raymond would loft a 1 out Sac Fly to right to make it 3-1.
Big Rapids returned the favor & some with 3 in the bottom of the 5th. The Cardinals started the inning with 3 straight hits: singles by Vennix & Ballard then an RBI double by Meeuewes.
1 batter later, Sophomore Ben Knuth would execute a gutty 2 strike suicide squeeze to score Ballard before Senior Xavier Prince put the nail in the coffin with a 2 out, 2 strike RBI single up the middle.
When the 5th inning ended, Big Rapids held a commanding 6-2 lead.
Apart from a 2 out, 2 run double by the Panther's Barlett in the 6th to make it 6-4, Meeuewes would slam the door and secure the victory for Big Rapids.
"It was the best game they played all season" said Asst. Coach J.T. Scarpelli. "Every guy picked each other up & they won as a team. We're very proud of these guys. Now let's win a district Saturday."
The Cardinals move on to play the Gladwin Flying G's this Saturday at 10:00am.
All District 35 games are at Chippewa Hills High School.