Three of the St. Thomas Cardinals' competitive teams have a shortened season
with a series of home and away exhibition games
Sunday, August 16th, 2020
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Three of the St. Thomas Cardinals competitive teams are making the most of a shortened minor baseball season.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's schedule has been basically cut down to the month of August.
But the 11U, 12U and 18U Cardinals are not letting the summer go by without a few appearances at the diamond. The three teams are playing exhibition games throughout this month.
The 11U Cardinals are undefeated at 6-0, while the 12U Cards are 4-1 and the 18U squad sits at 1-1-1.
"There is a lot of rust that has been building up because everyone has been staying home," 12U Cardinals' manager Dan Leonardes said, after his team took taking both games of a double-header from the Cambridge Cubs, winning 13-3 and 14-5, on Saturday. "We've been on the diamond for about three weeks and just today we started to see some game play with minimal rust."
It was certainly a day of pure joy when the 12U Cardinals were able to finally get together outside for the first time this year in July.
"It was a lot of fun. We found some big, open green spaces for a little while, before we were permitted to get on to diamonds," said Leonardes. "Practice was half fun and half drills. It was good for everyone to get back. There were lots of smiles all around, even from people walking by."
The usual schedule with regular season, playoffs and provincial tournament may have cancelled for this year, but the teams are still learning and improving their skills.
"The goal is lots of development for the kids," explained Leonardes. "We have two or three positions the kids are going to do in games. Our practice plans are around giving the kids lots of reps. As many repetitions at as many positions that the kids really want to try out. It seems inning by inning there is less rust. Guys are getting back in to mid May form. Every time we hit the diamond they'll a little bit better and a little bit more sharp and remembering things we've worked on the past three or four years."
The 12U Cardinals opened the 2020 season with a double-header at Cambridge on August 8th and have also played at Hamilton and Brantford. This weekend was the home opener for both the 11U and 12U Cardinals.
"We're lucky to enough in our four team loop, we've put together a playoff for Labour Day weekend," said Leonardes. "It's a little playoff, but still something to play for."
St. Thomas pumped out 16 hits in game one of their 12U twin bill, finishing Cambridge in a five inning mercy.
Tayven Barned and Luke Ordronneau both went three for three, while Luke Thomas had two hits and four RBI. Nathan Dunn knocked in three runs and scored three runs. Dunn, Barned and Thomas, each tripled.
Ordronneau took the win, allowing two runs on four hits over four innings pitched, while striking out five batters.
In game two, the Cardinals struck for 12 runs in the first two innings, before letting the Cubs stick around for an additional four innings.
Dunn delivered three more RBI, while Thomas, Cam Morrison and Parker Vaughan, each had two. Thomas had another triple.
Pitcher Aaron Dyke picked up the win.
The 11U Cardinals are also in a four team group, while the 18U red birds will see a lot of the London Badgers and Hamilton.
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