MACON — Two games which were relatively polar opposites kept the Chillicothe Cardinals senior American?Legion baseball team on the high side of .500 for 2012 last night.
After being shut out 10-0 on two Derrick Leeper singles in the opener of the road doubleheader at Macon, the Cardinals reversed the polarity in the second game and rode newly-drafted righthander Austin?Norris and a 5-run first inning to a 8-1 triumph. The split left the Cardinals with a 6-5 record.
After being thumped in the first game, Chillicothe came out swinging the bat much more effectively in the nightcap.
Leadoff man Steven Cooper singled to begin game two and Leeper was hit by a 1-out pitch to join him on base. A single by?Justin?VanHoutan then loaded the bases.
Trace Phillips’ grounder resulted in Leeper’s retirement at third for the second out as Cooper scored the game’s first run.
Chillicothe then turned a good start into a great one with patience at the plate. Troy?Toedebusch and Trenton?Troyer waited out walks, Troyer’s forcing J. VanHoutan home, before Nos. 8 and 9 hitters Stephan?Whalen and Josh Allen each delivered clutch, 2-out singles that combined to make it 5-0, Cards.
That would be plenty of space for Norris to operate in.
The tall, lean righthander from Trenton – taken by Philadelphia in the 39th (second-to-last) round of this week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft – blanked Macon until the sixth, by which time Chillicothe led 8-0.
Norris (2-1) finished with a 3-hitter, notching eight strikeouts in his complete-game win.
Up 5-0 after one, Chillicothe picked up a couple more tallies in its third, this time with the bottom of the batting order playing the role of rally starter, rather than rally capper.
Troyer opened the visitors’ third with a single and Whelan followed suit. Allen then sacrificed them to second and third for the top of the lineup.