Given the Abbotsford Cardinals’ precarious perch on the playoff bubble, Sunday’s doubleheader against the White Rock Tritons was getting into must-win territory.
The Cards got the job done, sweeping the Tritons by scores of 4-3 and 2-1 to jump up from 10th place into sole possession of the eighth and final in the B.C. Premier Baseball League standings with a 13-16 record.
Both wins came in extra innings. In the opener, White Rock scored a run in the top of the eighth to snap a 2-2 tie, but the Abby squad rallied to win on bases-loaded singles by Matt Buse and Zach Cardoso in the bottom of the inning.
Cardoso, the Cards’ centre fielder, suffered a separated shoulder in the second game of the day after diving for a fly ball. But his teammates came through in his absence, as Alex Massier’s single drove in Buse with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
“I just wanted to hit something on the ground, and I was just looking for a good pitch and hit it hard,” said Massier, who turned on an inside fastball. “It feels really good to come through in the clutch like that. It’s a momentum-builder.”
“Pitching-wise, we were great,” Cards coach Andy Rempel said, lauding the play of starters Steven Federau and Ryan Martin, each of whom went seven innings.
“Offensively, we didn’t execute well today. But we stuck with it, and we came through when we had to.”
The Cards (13-16) ran their winning streak to four in a row. They’re back in action on Thursday, June 23, when they host the Fraser Valley Chiefs at DeLair Park at 7 p.m.
“If we didn’t win two today, we’re in an uphill battle where we may not have been able to recover,” Rempel noted. “These two today are a big step in the right direction.”