By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
If ever a league showed parity among most of its team, the Liberal Cal Ripken League has shown it this season, and Thursday night’s match-up between the Royals and Cardinals was a prime example.
With the exception of the Tigers who have yet to win a game, all other teams are within two games of first place, and the top two teams faced off Thursday in a see-saw battle.
Jett Brown dominated the first three innings at the plate and on the mound. The Royals pitcher only gave up one run in the first three innings and hit an in-the-park grand slam home run in the second inning that helped the Royals jump out to a 5-0 lead.
By the time Brown left the mound, the Royals had a 9-1 lead.
But Royals manager Mark Brown expected the score to get closer, and it did.
The Cardinals score a pair of runs in the fourth inning to cut the Royal advantage to 9-3.
The Royals added a run in the top of the fifth to take a 10-3 lead, but that is when the Cardinals came to life.
The Royals pitchers struggled to throw strikes in the bottom of the sixth, and walks came back to haunt the Royals.
The Cardinals scored six runs to cut the lead to one with one out when Braxton Hyde came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a shot to right field. Three runs crossed the plate, and the Royals made an errant throw to third that allowed Hyde to score and give the Cardinals a 13-10 lead.
Brown used five different pitcher in the inning to try and stop the rally.
Syris Dunlap became the fourth Cardinal pitcher to take the mound in the top of the sixth, and after a lead-off walk was issued to Brown, Dunlap was able to get three soft dribblers, one to first and the other to back to the mound. Brown was able to score, but the Dunlap was able to secure the come-from-behind win for the Cardinals, 13-11.