“I just didn’t want them to hit home runs. Facing Jordan Billups, that was a scary situation at that point,” Ridgway said.
“A lot of these times in games like these, a big inning or two is usually all you’re going to get,” Cardinal head coach Jerald Harter added. “They got that one bloop hit on us in the first inning, but we came right back them and answered the challenge.”
Danae Moses and Lindsay Moore began the responding rally for the Comets with consecutive hits off Van Buren starting pitcher Alicia Fitzsimmons. After a walk loaded the bases, Lindsey Davis lined a go-ahead two-run hit to left as Cardinal flexed its offensive muscle right away.
“It was still early on. We’re confident we can get it back no matter what kind of deficit we’re facing,” Davis said.
Cardinal also did a good job forcing Van Buren into old habits that have plagued the Warriors throughout the year. The Comets forced Fitzsimmons into six walks and scored a pair of unearned runs thanks to a pair of Van Buren errors, helping aid in a second three-run inning in the fourth.
“Our Achilles heel all year has been allowing teams to score runs or allow runners on with walks and errors. Those have killed us all year,” Van Buren head coach Eric Speer said. “When we’ve won, we’ve committed an error and given up two walks. When we’ve lost, we’ve committed two errors and given up five walks. That’s five more base runners a game. You’re just not going to win when you give up that many more base runners.”
Unlike the Comets, Van Buren hitters didn’t make Ridgway or the Comet defense have to work nearly as hard. Quick swings and even quicker at bats helped Ridgway sat down Van Buren in order four time in the final six innings while Cardinal’s defense committed just one error on a tough grounder to third.