POYEN — No matter how the rest of the season goes for the Harmony Grove Cardinals, the 2014 season will go down as a championship year. After beating Cutter Morning Star and Magnet Cove in the first two games of the Poyen Tournament last week, the Cardinals flew past 5-3A conference rival Glen Rose 5-0 to capture the hardware.
“It was a great win,” Head Coach Brandon Mynhier said. “You want to win against Glen Rose anytime you can and they are going to always put a great team on the field. We just went out and tried to win a championship. It was a fun time for all of us.”
The game was mostly a pitchers’ duel with Jordan Allred firing against the Beavers’ starter Clay Holicer.
Allred, who has pitched well for Harmony Grove all season, came away with a complete game, allowing just three hits, no runs and struck out 11. Allred gave up one base on balls in the win.
“He is pitching great this year,” Mynhier said. “Every time we put him out on the mound he has given us a great chance to win. He is holding people to very little runs and keeping us in there.”
Holicer, who had held Harmony Grove to a single run until the fifth inning, ended with a line of two hits, three runs, six walks and six strikeouts in the loss.
“Clay held us to one run for most of the game,” Mynhier said. “It was close the whole time. There wasn’t much being given up by either pitcher.”
Brinson Cornwell started the scoring for Harmony Grove in the first inning, drawing a walk before stealing second and scoring on an RBI double from Colby Byrd. With Holicer shutting down the Cardinals’ offense, Harmony Grove had to wait until the fifth to cross the dish again.
Cornwell was once again at the front of the scoring train. After singling up the middle, Cornwell reached second on a grounder before scoring on back-to-back hit by pitches to make it 2-0 Cardinals.
Harmony Grove broke the game open in the seventh, scoring three straight runs. Zach Caplinger, Logan Clay and Landen Lewis all scored in the inning. Jordan Jones collected his lone hit in the frame, driving in one of the three runs.
Allred ended the game with a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out his final two batters.
Cornwell, Byrd, Clay, Lewis and Jones all collected a hit and RBI each in the win. Harmony Grove continued to show good speed as well, swiping four bases in the win.
Holicer finished 2 for 3 at the plate.
“The guys are very excited,” Mynhier said. “Every one of the guys wanted to take pictures and dads wanted to take pictures with sons. It was just a really fun time for them. I really enjoyed it.”
Cardinals finish 3rd at Bauxite
BAUXITE — Harmony Grove had a busy day Saturday. After winning the Poyen Tournament, the Cardinals hit the road to Bauxite for the third-place game of the FCA Bauxite Tournament against Heber Springs.
With its main starters taxed, Harmony Grove found a way to get through the contest with a win from its pitchers, taking down it opposition 5-3.
“We got down early and managed to come back,” Mynhier said.
Down 2-0 early, the Cardinals battled back to put a 2-spot on the board when Cornwell and Byrd crossed in the third. With a 2-2 count, Jones turned on a pitch a blasted it to centerfield for a two-RBI double. Cornwell stole second and third while Byrd took second to get into scoring position.
Still down 3-2, Harmony Grove put together another stellar inning in the fifth, scoring three runs to take the lead for good. Caplinger reached on an error and scored on another Jones double. Alec Shilling drove in his lone run of the game, scoring Jones on a single. Dillon Pierce scored the last run of the game after drawing a walk in the inning.
Harmony Grove batted around in the frame to overtake Heber Springs.
Jones ended his night going 2 for 2 with three RBI and a run scored.
“(Jones) came through in two big spots that we really needed him,” Mynhier said. “He did it all with two-strike counts.”
Pierce, Shilling and Tyler Hamilton collected the team’s other three hits.
Jone threw two innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. Caplinger tossed the final four innings, allowing two hits while striking out eight.
“(Caplinger) has been catching all season so it was nice to give him a break,” Mynhier said. “We have been trying to find some other guys to fill in and we wanted to give Caplinger a shot on the mound. He went out and did a great job dominating with strike after strike and had a great presence on the mound.”
The Cardinals move their record to 5-2 on the young season. Harmony Grove takes on Poyen today on the road. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.