Riverside sweeps Sr. Cards out of Senior League semi-finals

By Joel Charron

The Essex County Senior Baseball playoffs finally resumed play after more than a month of delays.

The Amherstburg Sr. Cardinals, who were suppose to face first place Chatham, opened the semi-final match-up against Riverside after Chatham withdrew from the playoffs due to a lack of players.

Wednesday evening, Riverside took a 1-0 series lead after defeating the Sr. Cards 1-0 in a epic nine inning, rain soaked Game One.

Mike “Junior” Purdie took the mound for the first time in over a month and turned in one of the best performance of his career, pitching nine innings, giving up seven hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts and one earned run.

“I felt good, I’m usually geared up for playoff games,” said Purdie. “Unfortunately things didn’t work out.”

The month layoff certainly took its toll on both teams as both side showed signs of rust.

Riverside’s Scott Grainger struck out 11 Cardinals before being pulled in the eighth inning.

Base runners were a rarity, as both pitchers took advantage of the layoff. Amherstburg’s Mac Ouellette was the first batter to reach base with a single in the second inning, however the Cards couldn’t advance him any further.

The Cardinals best chance to take a lead in the game was in the bottom of the sixth inning when Grainger walked Cardinals’ Rob Meloche giving the Cards a rare base runner.

Dave Simone took advantage of a poorly placed Grainger fastball and sent it into the gap in the right center field, sending Meloche to round third and head for home. With a series of good relays, Riverside was able to gun down Meloche at home plate, keeping the game scoreless after six innings.

With the game heading into extra innings the Cardinals had a chance to take the lead but was unable to cash in on their opportunities.

A hard rain began to fall in the top of the ninth inning, but the game continued.

Riverside led off with a double to left field and was able to advance the runner to third with a sacrifice bunt. The runner later scored giving Riverside 1-0 lead.

A bizarre play ended the top half of the inning when a Riverside runner crossed the plate for a run on a sacrifice fly but was called out at third base for leaving too soon.

Amherstburg’s Trevor Mulder reached second base in the bottom half of the inning, however the Cards couldn’t get him to the plate.

“It was a great ball game,” said bench coach Ken Thrasher. “It’s a tough game to lose but this series is far from over.”

On Sunday the Sr. Cardinals travelled to Riverside for Game 2 of the series.

With Adam Ouellette on the mound the Cardinals put forth a vaillant effort but eventually fell to Riverside 7-2.

“We were playing really good baseball on Labour Day,” said Cardinals first baseman. “But after not playing for over a month, it’s kind of hard to pick it up again.”

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