Essex Yellow Jackets down A’burg Bantam Cardinals in season finale

 

By Joel Charron

Even in a loss the Amherstburg Bantam Cardinals know how to look good.

The Bantam Cardinals dropped the final regular season game 2-0 to the Essex Bantam Yellow Jackets, Friday evening at the UCCU Complex.

“Oh my goodness, that was a ball game,” stated bantam Cardinals manager Kris Meloche. “Those boys (Essex) played a heck of a game.”

Friday night’s game was a matchup of two of the leagues top teams that lived up to the hype.

Riley Meloche started for the Cardinals and pitched a solid three innings, striking out four batters and walking only one while allowing no runs.

Cory Burns took over for Meloche in the fourth inning and found himself in some trouble after putting two runners on base with walks, Essex blasted a triple to right-center field that cashed in their two base runners,

The two fourth innings run were the only runs Burns allowed in his three innings of work as Ryan Wismer came in the top of the seventh for an innings of scoreless work.

 

Bantam Cardinals Marshall Laing looks a ground ball into his glove.

The Yellow Jackets pitching manages to keep the potent Amherstburg offense, which averages 10 hits a game, to only one hit the entire game, a line drive single to left field by Brendon Renaud in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“We just couldn’t get our bats going,” said Riley. “I couldn’t get a hit to save my life.”

Meloche said he was very pleased with the way his squad played despite being held to only one hit. He stated that the Cardinals played excellent defense and once again got quality pitching from his rotation, but felt the Cardinals fell victim to an expanded strike zone in the fourth inning.

“When Riley came off the mound, the strike zone changed, it was very apparent. Everyone in the park saw it,” said Meloche. “For Cory to deal with that, it was really difficult but he handled himself with class and poise.”

Looking back on the season Meloche said it has been an “absolute pleasure” coaching his team.

“We’ve been together for quite some time so I’ve gotten to know a lot of these boys very well,” he said. “They are all a great group of kids who play the game the way it should be, with respect and with heart. It has truly been a honour to coach these kids.”

With the conclusion of the regular season the Bantam Cardinals now switch their focus to the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) Bantam Tournament held in Waterdown, near Burlington, this coming weekend.

Meloche likes his team’s chances.

“If we played like we played tonight, this team will go far,” he said. “I’m expecting good things this year.

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