It's got to be frustrating for Carson Cardinals coach Steve Cook. It seems like just when the Cardinals expose one problem, they find a way to correct it the next day, only to expose another one.
First, he was displeased with his team's effort Thursday during round-robin play at the United States Amateur Baseball Association (USABA) World Series.
And even though Carson lost both games the next day, Cook was ecstatic about how his players changed their attitudes, despite leaving 13 runners on base in a 10-4 loss to Arlington, Texas.
On Sunday, in the first round of the World Series double elimination bracket play, the Cardinals left several runners in scoring position and it turned out to hurt them later in the game.
Fresno's Ryan Pierpont's two-run single in the bottom of the fifth proved to be the game-winning hit as the Central Cal All-Stars beat Carson 6-4 at Governor's Field, sending the Cardinals into the losers bracket.
In the second inning, Carson's Adam Martin was left at third base and the following inning, the Cards left two runners on. But probably the toughest one for Cook to witness came in the fifth when Carson left runners on second and third with the game tied at 4.
The missed opportunity came back to haunt them when Pierpont's single put the Cardinals on the brink of elimination when they take on Douglas today at 9 a.m. at Governor's Field. The Tigers lost their first round game 11-0 to West Oahu, Hawaii on Sunday.
"The only black mark we had today was leaving those guys on base," Cook said. "But that's kind of been our problem all tournament."
One thing is certain, however. Cook shouldn't have to motivate his team for today's game against Douglas. Combined, the two teams only have three wins between them.
"We got Douglas and I know I don't have anything to worry about the team getting up for that one," Cook said. "We always have something to prove against them."
Against Central Cal, Carson led the entire game until Pierpont's hit. Australian exchange student Steve Frost's two-run single in the third gave the Cardinals a 4-1 lead. Starter Kenny Heald, who hurled Carson to win over Sel Way on Wednesday, nearly did the same yesterday.
"Kenny pitched another great game for us, we just couldn't score any runs when we had guys in scoring position," Cook said. "If we can find a way to score some of those guys, we might win this game."
If nothing else, the game was a spirited affair. Central Cal's coach was ejected mid-way through the game and then a little later, lead off hitter Carl Lipsey was ejected after kicking dust in catcher Murph Glover's face. Then one of Central Cal's assistants nearly got thrown out following that incident but talked his way into staying in the game.
"It was a very heated game but I thought our guys stayed calm and collected, "Cook said. "Overall, though, I'm happy with the way we played."
Carl Winter and Neil Holmes both went 1-for-2 while Matt Bowman was 2-for-3.