Elle is my granddaughter Claire’s bestie.
Elle is a bright but not Cardinal red Teddy Bear.
The proceedings were set for mid Saturday afternoon. My presence was commanded. A joyous order, to be sure.
Except that it coincided with Louisville Cardinals’ regular season closer against the ‘Canes.
Then again, this time around, it came as a blessing. An escape from the escape that is my fealty to Louisville sports.
So, instead of yelling at my TV screen, instead of screaming over Sean Moth’s call on the way to the Saint Matthews Parade Grounds, I was hanging with Claire. Reading a book of hers that resonated for her and me.
And Elle, of course. And Claire’s giggly pals, Gracie and the inquisitive Mattie. Who, as she and her sister ran up, pointed at me, and asked, “Are you the grandfather?”
Then she asked about the scars on my leg. Curiosity is going to take that charming lass a long way.
Oh, the beauty of hangin’ with adolescents to cure the ills of the world.
Meanwhile, I later learned, the Cardinal nine suffered yet another weekend sweep. It’s third in the last four. Once Top Ten, the baseball team is now suffering the same malaise as the other two major sports, contested by U of L athletes who are the male of the species.
Now the baseball team seems to be mired in the same quicksand.
It ain’t 2013 anymore.
Once a lock to host a regional, U of L is now on the bubble to make the tourney at all.
What a revolting development, this is.
* * * * *
Pitching was the Cards’ issue for most of the season.
But, if there’s a bright spot at all from the last week, it’s that Dan McDonnell’s diddling with the rotation provides a smidge of optimism heading into the ACC tourney.
Essentially unsuccessful Friday night starter Michael Kirian moved back to the pen midweek against USC Upstate. He seems more comfortable in relief than he has as a starter.
Then the Cardinals got three mighty fine outings. From 2d game starter Jared Poland, and Carter Lohman in relief. Combined, they surrendered but 2 runs and 7 hits in Friday’s L.
On Saturday, Tate Kuehner got the start. He and Adam Elliott and Kirian gave up only three runs and three hits.
But the Cardinal hitters can’t hit the combined weight of Claire, her beloved bear, and Mattie and her sister.
U of L was shut out on Friday, scoring only two in the finale.
Four hits, and a lone run on Thursday.
Three hits and on scores on Friday.
A boffo six knocks on Saturday, but only two plated.
U of L has simply not been the same team since the Pitt COVID pause. Not the same since they weren’t on the list of potential regional sites.
Winning the league tourney would be more than sweet. It actually appears necessary to make the NCAA, since Louisville’s RPI is, ahem, #66.
U of L’s group pod in Charlotte includes Clemson and Georgia Tech.
Two wins are an absolute must.
— c d kaplan