12U Canton Cardinals fly high at Macomb
June 18, 2010, 11:25 p.m.
The 12U Canton Cardinals travel
baseball team heads to the USSSA Open State Championship this weekend,
after putting up another impressive tournament showing on the east side.
The Cards traveled to Mt.
Clemens, June 12-13, for the Macomb County Challenge. Canton stormed
out of the dugout Saturday for its first game in pool play against the
Macomb Dodgers. All of scoring, including a two-run blast by Seth
Hubbard, came in the first inning.
Pitcher Andrew Hejka silenced the Dodgers by striking out seven
batters. The Cardinals won, 11-1, after three-and-a-half innings.
Game two had Canton taking on a tough
Team Line Drive contingent, but strong offense and defense combined to
give Canton a 7-1 win. Hejka led all batters with three hits, including
a double. Ravi Mahanti, Grant Hartwig and Michael Groff also
contributed to the scoring. The victory earned Canton the No. 1
seed heading into bracket play on Sunday. It also set up a rematch with
The boys fell behind early, 4-0, heading into the fourth inning.
Mahanti was called to the mound in relief and TLD's bats lost their
power. But the turning point came in the top of the sixth, when
Kevin Anthony blasted a bases-clearing triple down the left field line.
It lifted the Cards to a 7-4 victory and a trip to the championship
game against the D'town Tigers.
This would prove to be the toughest
game of the tournament. The Tigers put up nine runs after two
innings, but the Cardinals weren't ready to go home yet. They
battled back to close the gap. Hejka, Griffin Shiminiski and Cam
Shaughnessy each brought in two runs to put the boys within striking
The Cardinals were down 11-9 heading into the sixth inning, but
they couldn't muster enough to pull it out. D'town took this one,
12-9, to win the championship.
Head Coach Dan
Hejka, Sr. was still pleased with the results and the overall play of
his players over the past few weeks.
"I am very proud how the boys fought back in the semi-finals and
finals," Hejka said. "They could have quit, but kept working hard."
Hejka is now getting the Cards ready for to make a run at the
state title. The best 12U teams from around the state began pool
play at Liberty Park, in Sterling Heights, Friday morning, with
the best advancing to the playoffs on Sunday.
"It will be a tough tournament," Hejka said. "We have a tough
pool and will have to go through one of the best teams in the Midwest
to get out of our pool. I know the boys are up to the challenge.
This is a perfect time to earn some much-deserved respect."