The Stanislaus Cardinals Babe Ruth 18-year-old team reached the Pacific Southwest Regional championship game for the second consecutive season, only to fall in two straight games to the eventual winners in San Gabriel Valley at Modesto Christian on Monday.
Only one game away from reaching the World Series, the Cardinals fell in the first contest after a late game heroic from San Gabriel which led to the 2-0 loss. The Cardinals dropped the second game, 4-3.
Despite a disappointing ending, Cardinals head coach Bobby Swedberg said he could not be any more proud of his team for what they accomplished throughout the season.
“We didn’t overlook them, they are a good team. They hit the ball well and execute when they need to. Every game we played them was a great game,” Swedberg said. “It was very tight against these guys. When you get to this level and regionals, we all know that we will be playing tough competition and today things didn’t go our way.”
To get here the Cardinals swept by their first three opponents, ending with a 2-1 win in Saturday’s semifinal against San Gabriel, but this would be the only time they could trounce the Southern California Babe Ruth squad.
“Just to get that opportunity was huge this year, very proud of our guys,” said Swedberg.
Jacob Ahid started Saturday’s game and tossed up five strong innings, allowing only one run in the process. Tyler Murphy finished off the last two innings with shutouts to end the game in favor of the Cardinals and a spot in the finale.
“We got bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth with two outs and I waved Mason Washington from third and he knocked the ball out of the catcher's hand at home to get the go-ahead run,” said Swedberg. “Jacob [Ahid] kept their hitters off balance all night and Tyler did great at the end.”
Murphy started the first game on Monday and the 0-0 score heading into the sixth was broken up by San Gabriel after a two-run game resulted in the tournament’s first loss for the Cardinals, forcing a second game.
The momentum seemed to have shifted over to San Gabriel by this point because the Cardinals looked stunned when the contest ended.
“Those were some great games,” Swedberg said.
In the second game, San Gabriel jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning, but in the third, Nikko Delgado hit a two-run homer to deep left field to put his team up 3-2 after Washington was squeezed in with a bunt before the home-run.
“We battled in the second one after they got a couple runs and took the lead. We just weren’t able to capitalize. They are a great team you know,” said Swedberg. “We could’ve easily won and gone on to the World Series, we're a great team, got great ball players with bright futures.”
The final two runs were added on in the bottom of the fourth to take the 4-3 lead and San Gabriel wouldn’t let anything else reach home plate.
San Gabriel proved to be the clutch team at the end, while the Cardinals’ bats were kept cool towards the end.
“What these kids do on the field speaks for itself. It is well deserved of a season and praise all the way around,” Swedberg said. “They have been consistent all year and to be able to get recognized at regionals is a compliment to their character and athletic ability.”