Rangers 15, Cardinals 0, game 1, 5 inn.
Rangers 5, Cardinals 1, game 2
Just like the end of the 2017 regular season, the Rangers used victories on the final day to catapult them into the No. 3 playoff seed. Great pitching and defense led the Rangers to a doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals on Sunday, August 19 at Centerville high school.
Luke Trubee pitched in game one and was nearly perfect, only allowing a leadoff single in the fifth inning and facing the minimum 15 batters en route to a 15-0 run-rule in 5 innings.
The Rangers loaded up the bases in the first inning as Cooper Nolte, Ben Schooler, and Ryan Kemp all reached base and scored. Schooler's 2-out, 2-run double in the second made it 5-0. The Rangers sent 13 batters to bat in the third inning, scoring 8 times. Highlights came from a 3-run double from Ian Rike, a run-scoring double from Rob Pederson, and RBI single from Schooler. The Rangers plated the final two runs in the bottom of the fourth on RBIs from Rike and Nolte.
Ryan Kemp was nearly as flawless in a game 2 start that saw the Rangers win 5-1. The only run for the Cardinals came in the bottom of the 7th after Brandon Cusick reached on a fielder's choice with two outs, and an errant pickoff moved him to third, and a wild pitch allowed him to score. Kemp finished with career-tying best 10 strikeouts.
The Rangers, who struggled earlier in the season to Cardinals game 2 starter Josh Cvetkovich, did just enough in game two to pull out the win. In the second inning, Luke Trubee drove in a run with a fielder's choice, and Chris Ridl's sac fly plated another. Three more scored in the top of the 6th. Rob Pederson led off with a walk, and Cooper Nolte followed with a double. Joe Becker pinch hit and roped a 2-run double to left-center. One out later, Brandon Marshall singled home Becker for the final tally of the day.
The Rangers will face the Royals in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, August 25.
Offensive highlights: Cooper Nolte 3-for-7, 3 runs, RBI, double; Ben Schooler 2-for-5, 2 runs, 3RBI, double; Cody Pelfrey 2-for-5, 2 runs, double; Ian Rike 2-for-5, 3 runs, 4RBI, double.
Historical Notes: Shawn Schmitt is 7 strikeouts away from 900 Ks for his career.