MELISSA — Two big innings were more than enough for the Melissa Cardinals to thwart Bonham on Tuesday, April 10, at the Melissa Sports Facility. That, and another complete-game gem from starting pitcher Andrew Cole. The important 7-1 win by the Cards (5-1) kept them tied with Princeton atop District 11-4A with four games left in the regular season.

Cole struck out 12 Warriors and walked no one, buoyed no doubt by his team’s four-run outburst in the first inning — a charge Cole himself helped deliver with a 2-RBI double. Adding to Melissa’s offensive firepower this night was Tate Whittington’s 2-for-3 turn at the plate with a double, as well as singles by Isaiah Segovia, Adam Davis, Bobby Houston and Brady Morrison.

Three Bonham pitchers allowed the seven hits while walking eight and striking out three.

“It’s big,” Melissa head coach Jason Russell said of this one. “You always want to start the second half [of district play] with a win. We were playing a team that’s battling for their playoff lives so we knew they were going to be dangerous. I was really glad we jumped out early on them. But we left some big innings on the board and we’ve got to make sure we produce some runs. When we have guys in scoring position we can’t just let them hang out there.”

“That first inning helped us a lot, got our energy up,” Cards third baseman Krisjon Segleski said. “And Andrew pitched his butt off.”

Whittington got Melissa rolling in the first inning with a lead-off double to center field. After he moved to third on a wild pitch, Segovia walked to put runners at the corners with no one out. Segovia stole second and on a related error Whittington raced home with the Cards’ first run. Tyler Womack’s fly ball to center sent Segovia to third and Adam Davis’ ground out to first scored Segovia.

Morrison’s single to right and a Houston walk followed, setting the table for Cole’s two-run double to right which made it 4-0.

The Warriors (2-4) pushed their lone run across in the fourth inning with a triple and a double on back-to-back at-bats. The Cards returned for more in their half of the fourth. Trevor Brooks starting things by getting aboard with a walk and a Whittington single to left ensued. Both runners advanced on a balk call before Segovia’s sacrifice fly to center sent Brooks home with Melissa’s fifth run. Womack then grounded into a fielder’s choice to second, scoring Whittington. After Davis reached base on a fielder’s choice and Morrison walked, Houston’s single to right plated Davis, ending the game’s scoring.

Cole faced just 10 batters the rest of the way, one over the minimum.

Two Cardinal seniors were asked to assess their team’s success to this point.

“I think our offense is one of the big parts of it,” first baseman Davis said. “We all hit pretty good throughout the lineup, 1 through 9 — and our defense too. We lost middle infielders but then we got Isaiah who stepped up at short and we got second baseman Brady. Our pitching is really good too.”

Said Segleski, “I think we’ve been really good on the defensive side of things and our pitching has been really hot. As long as we keep throwing strikes and making plays, we’re going to grind up enough runs to get us some wins.”