In its opening season, the Cardinals keep track of their memories. After all, as coach John Miller put it, “Every time you do something, it’s the first time in school history that it’s been done.”
There were plenty of first places for the Cardinals on Wednesday despite their 13-6 loss. After Merritt’s first blow, the first hit came home, courtesy of Jeremy Hayden at the bottom of the first. He was also the first to record an RBI, sending Carson Cates home with a double in the fifth. Although the result left something to be desired, the game remained an important milestone for the team.
“It’s a really cool moment to be in, and it’s going to be here forever,” Hayden said.
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The players from the first year of school had to wait for their special day. The Cardinals (8-4, 4-2 Cedar Run) were to play away in the first three weeks of the season, their first home game scheduled for April 5th. But bad weather kept Gainesville away from home for two weeks longer than planned.
The Cardinals did not let it derail a strong start. They entered a winning streak of five games on Wednesday, including 4-0 to win the Jeff Baker Classic.
After months of planning, building and maintaining a new field – and easier to see things such as. creating concessions and training an announcer – Gainesville finally hosted its first game.
“It’s always exciting to start something new,” Miller said. “And to build on it and build a culture the way you want it, built on ownership – that’s something we preach.”
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Miller and his players hope to create something that survives them. After putting Wednesday’s losses behind them, they will look to continue with just that.
“It’s cool to just know you’re building a culture and a program,” Merritt said. “I think here in a few years we will be something to remember.”
The Patriots’ victory increased its record to 7-3 overall and 3-2 in district play.