Elizabeth defeated host Englewood 16-0 on April 3, utilizing 16 hits by Cardinals batters, to grab a piece of first place in the Class 4A, Colorado 7 League.
It was nearly the same picture April 5 as the Cardinals tallied their fifth straight win with a 9-1 victory over visiting Englewood.
With the victories, the Cardinals of coach Doug Severinsen improved to 7-3 overall, 3-0 in the league. Englewood, which was having a solid season before its back-to-back losses to the Cardinals, fell to 6-3-1, 3-2.
Pitcher Cody Stienke improved to 3-0 on the mound for Elizabeth with the win in the first game, in which he and his teammates faced 17 batters. Over the course of the five-inning game, Stienke gave up two hits while striking out eight batters.
The game was basically decided at the plate in the second inning as Elizabeth scored eight runs. The Cardinals added five more in the third inning and three in the fourth to close out their scoring.
“I hit my spots today, we got the hits and our defense backed me up,” said Stienke, a right-hander. “We’ve gotten off to a pretty good start this season and I think we are excited to see how the season goes.”
Elizabeth sent 13 batters to the plate in the second inning, with seven picking up hits. The Cardinals also took advantage of three Englewood errors as well as stealing four bases in the frame. Six of the runs came across the plate before the Cardinals had an out.
Shortstop Willie Weber singled to open the second inning, then reached second as the Cardinals second batter, Tyler Erzen, who plays center field, reached first on an error. Third baseman Shawn Herr followed with a single, loading the bases. The second Englewood error of the inning enabled Weber to score what can be counted as the game-winning run.
In the April 5 game, Englewood got off to 1-0 lead in the first inning, but that one run would be all the Pirates would get.
Elizabeth pitcher David Wahlstrom was in control on the mound the rest of the way for Elizabeth, giving up a total of four hits, striking out nine and not allowing a single walk.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Wahlstrom, who did not play in the first game. “I just wanted to calm down and find the zone, and I feel I was able to do that. Ten strikeouts and only four hits was good, I think a gem. Our offense was off a bit when we started, but we found our groove when we needed it.”
Elizabeth actually got all the Cardinals would need for the victory in the second inning, coming through with two runs. Jeff Stephens, who walked to open the inning, would eventually score on a passed ball by Englewood’s losing pitcher, Eric Almanzar.
Wahlstrom then walked, and advanced to second on a sacrifice fly by Willie Weber, which also moved Stephens to third base. Stephens then scored on another passed ball, while Wahlstrom would be driven home on a single by Tyler Erzen.
Instead of exploding in the second inning as Elizabeth did in the first game, it came in the sixth. It’s here that Erzen collected three more RBIs with a double that drove home Brody Oliver, Severinsen and Wahlstrom.
“I’ve never hit that hard before and I wasn’t expecting a hit like that,” Erzen said. “But it felt good and came at the right time for us. They came out a lot stronger than the last game and were fired up. We just had to play hard and smart. And, I did have a pretty good day at bat.”