Red Deer Carstar Braves head coach Cam Moon knows that to be competitive in the NorWest Midget AAA Baseball League this season he needs to get solid pitching.
He got that Sunday as the Braves opened at home, but it wasn’t enough as they lost 3-2 and 5-3 to the Edmonton Cardinals II at Great Chief Park.
“We pitched well and defended well, but I didn’t think we hit as well as we can,” said Moon.
“It’s early in the season but we left a few guys on base. “These were two good games and two winnable games.”
The Braves managed just four hits in each game and while they made two errors in the opener they were error free in the nightcap.
“We made a few mistakes, which will happen this time of the season,” said Moon. “The nice thing was when we did make a mistake we battled hard right after that, which was good to see.”
Michael Ozga started on the mound in the opener and gave up single runs in the first and second innings — only one earned. He went six innings, allowing four hits while fanning 10 and not walking a batter.
“Michael was outstanding,” said Moon. “Ty (Wagar) was very efficient in the second game while we used a couple of younger kids in relief and they both threw well. I was proud of the way the guys threw. They threw a lot of strikes and weren’t giving anything away. That’s what we need to stay in games.”
Benett Kary went the final inning in the opener, allowing a run on a hit.
The Braves scored single runs in the sixth and seventh, both off reliever Luke Roberts, who replaced started Tsar Hester in the sixth. Hester allowed three hits over five innings.
In the nightcap, Wagar went 4 2/3 innings for the Braves, allowing four runs on four hits, four walks and three strike outs. Jordan Muirhead went 1 1/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits.
Brandon Yarema started for the Cardinals, tossing four innings of hitless ball, allowing two runs on four walks. Joshua Robilliard went the final three innings, giving up a unearned run on four hits and a walk.
“Credit to their pitching, but as I said we could have hit better,” said Moon, who is still missing three of his veteran players, who are with the Badlands Baseball Academy in Oyen.
“They definitely would help, but that’s the way it is,” he said. “As for Edmonton we expected they would have a good team as they had a good bantam program last year.”
The Braves play a triple header at home against Fort McMurray next weekend, with games at 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.