The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the LNP Midget-Midget Tournament, the Warwick Phillies and SWS Cardinals certainly reinforced their high rankings Monday night at Mount Joy's Kunkle Field.
Shortly after the Phillies dispatched the Manheim Township Blue Streaks in 3 1/2 innings, 10-0, the Cardinals took a similar, if not slightly longer, route to victory with a 12-1 victory over Manheim VFW, accomplished in five innings through the ten-run rule.
The top seeds will meet Tuesday -- likely not for the last time in this tournament -- in the second game of a doubeheader at Kunkle Field, 20 minutes after the conclusion of an elimination game featuring Township and Manheim. That game is set for 6 p.m.
Theoretically, the No. 8 hitter in a lineup isn't the most likely to do major damage in a game.
The Cardinals' Beau Heyser gave lie to that assumption, going 3-for-3 with 5 RBI to pace an 11-hit attack. His 3-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning triggered the mercy rule.
The lefty hitting left fielder singled in a run in a 2-run second inning and doubled in a run in a third-inning bat around that saw the Cards (19-9) post six runs. His two-bagger was one of seven stroked by the Cards.
Facing VFW's third pitcher of the evening, Jared Murray, Heyser bore down.
"I think I faced the last pitcher, and I didn’t do so good," he said. "I think I went 0-for-3, swinging at not so good pitches. So I just adjusted to that."
With Gehrig Harsh (2-for-2, 3 runs, 3 RBI) and Andrew Whitehead on base, Heyser worked a full count, fouling off a 3-2 offering, then deposited a fastball over the fence in right center.
"I just kept my head down and visualized hitting the ball," he said.
Harsh opened the scoring, doubling in Wyatt Giberson, who also doubled. Heyser's first safety plated Harsh.
The Cards roughed up VFW starter Collin Thompson in the third with Xander Getchis following Braedon Karpathios' RBI single with a RBI double.
Harsh stroked a 2-run double, chasing Thompson, and Heyser greeted reliever Blake Thompson with a RBI double, followed by Brayden Adams' RBI double.
Getchis' ground out to short scored winning pitcher Alex Knapp in the fourth inning, setting the stage for Heyser's heroics.
"They're clicking," said Cards coach Steve Giberson. "They're coming together at the right time."
Getchis relieved Knapp, who allowed one hit striking out six, after two innings work. Manheim (29-9) reached Getchis for a run in the third with Connor Rohrer singling home Dylan Yoder.
From there Getchis played stopper, allowing a pair of walks and Landon McGallicher's fifth-inning single.