HASKELL – After taking two games from Magnet Cove (9-5 and 6-5 wins) over the weekend, the Benton Harmony Grove Cardinals put their winning streak at six with a 14-2 shellacking of the Cutter Morning Star Eagles on Monday.
“I’m very proud of the leaps and bounds these guys have made this year,” Cardinals’ Coach Brandon Mynhier said. “They work hard and have really learned how to win.”
The Cardinals (10-8, 5-2 5-3A) pounded out 11 hits in the win and Ryan Roush started getting the win. Roush gave up two runs on five hits and two walks in five innings, and struck out six.
“We’ve had great pitching and timely hitting,” Mynhier said. “We are hoping to make a push deep into the playoffs.”
Leadoff man Zach Caplinger had 5 RBI and picked up his first four on a grand slam in the Cardinals’ 9-run first inning. Trent Smith also had a bases-loaded triple in the first to account for 3 more runs. Smith finished 2 for 3 with 3 RBI, Caplinger went 1 for 3 with his 5 RBI, and Tyler Hamilton was perfect at the plate with a 3 for 3 showing, swiped two bases and scored twice.
In Harmony Grove’s 6-5 win against Magnet Cove, the Cardinals took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first and the game would stay that way until the top of the fifth when Magnet Cove put a 4-spot up to take a 4-2 lead. The two teams would trade runs before BHG scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead and the win.
The Cardinals loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth on a walk and two singles before Caplinger plated one with a single to left field, and Logan Clay would tie the game with an infield RBI single before Deven Stowe scored the winning run on an error.
Caplinger again shined for the Cardinals going 3 for 4 with an RBI, Clay went 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Colby Byrd went 2 for 3 with a run. BHG won despite being outhit 14-10.
The Cardinals would be outhit even worse in their 9-5 win over Magnet Cove, but still came away with the victory. Magnet Cove had 17 hits to Harmony Grove’s 11, but the Cardinals took advantage of their base runners.
BHG would score one in the first and three in the second for a 4-0 lead before Magnet Cove scored four in the top of the third to tie it at 4-4. Byrd would single to start the bottom of the third, went to second on a passed ball and took third on a ground out. Byrd would score on a Bailey Palmer infield single for the winning run and the series sweep.
“We knew Magnet was a good team and to be able to take two from them is big,” Mynhier said. “We overcame some mental mistakes and fought hard all day. They were two great team wins.”
Byrd went 3 for 3 with three runs and a stolen base, Palmer went 3 for 4 with 2 runs and RBI, Roush went 2 for 2 with 4 RBI, and Caplinger went 1 for 2 with 2 runs and 2 RBI.
Hamilton started for the Cardinals and gave up five runs in seven innings with six strikeouts.
The Cardinals begin their 5-3A District Tournament on Friday in Mayflower. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.