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Sobkow hopes to 'adjust' Cardinal recruiting plan for 2012 season

The Yorkton Cardinals' Western Major Baseball League season came to an end last week as the team split their final two games and finished in the cellar of the East Division.
The Cardinals hosted Regina in the final home game of the 2011 season last Wednesday night.

The Yorkton Cardinals' Western Major Baseball League season came to an end last week as the team split their final two games and finished in the cellar of the East Division.

The Cardinals finished the season with a 14-26 record, and two games not played (rain outs in Edmonton) to finish with a .350 winning percentage and 17 games back of Regina atop the WMBL East Division, and 1.5 games out of a playoff spot behind Weyburn who finished third.

The Beavers also had one game not played, setting up the potential for Yorkton to have tied Weyburn, but the Beavers held the tie breaker so the rain outs and suspended game were not played.

Melville was second in the east, 12-games out of first.

The results for the Cardinals had long-time head coach and manager Bill Sobkow clearly frustrated.
"What a season. It was a season from hell. A nightmare," he lamented after the Cardinals final home game of the season. "Anytime you don't make the playoffs it's not good."

Sobkow said the team faced trouble almost from the opening game of the year.

"We had an awful start," he said, noting a number of players who arrived early left because of school grades, injuries and because "some really didn't want to be here." The result was in June, with the season in full swing, the Cardinals "started recruiting over again," said Sobkow.

"It's been a very, very challenging year for players."

The result was the Cardinals went through the final month of the season with a limited bench, and while their play was better through July, they never got to the point of contending with the top teams in the WMBL, and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

Sobkow said the team's recruiting may have to be adjusted, noting "you need players that have experience in winning That actually want to be in Canada to play collegiate baseball."

Sobkow said while the resumes of some of this year's Cardinals suggested better results, he knew early on the team was likely to struggle over the entire year. "Usually you can tell the first six, seven, eight ball games into the season."

With the dismal record, Sobkow said it's hard to know if any of this year's Cardinal players will be back in 2012. "I always get disappointed and say 'no I don't want anybody back'," he said, then softened to add "It's not so easy to recruit Canadians," so players such as Jon Mihic is valuable as much for the place of birth as ability. The key for 2012, said Sobkow is to make sure whoever is recruited is truly "interested in baseball."

He said he will be discussing how to ensure that with others in the organization so the Cardinals can "come up with a team to qualify for the playoffs."

The final two games

Last Wednesday the Cardinals hosted their final game of 2012 at Jubilee Park with Regina the visitors.

The game was a close one until the fifth inning when the Red Sox plated seven runs, adding to their 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals would reply with a pair of runs in the home-half of the fifth, but that was as close as the score would get, as no further runs crossed the plate leaving it an 8-2 Regina win.

Yesniel Henriquez started on the mound for Yorkton, and took the loss after tossing 4.2 innings, giving up all eight Regina runs, although only one was earned.

James Green was the offence for Yorkton, cashing in the only two runs on a double, while also having a pair of steals to draw within one of the WMBL single season record.

A night later Green would again be a catalyst in the Cardinals final game of the season, an 8-2 win in Weyburn. Green would steal two to set a new WMBL season record (see related story this issue), have a double, and score three runs in the game.

On the mound N.D. Gonzalez started the game and went eight innings for his fourth win of the season. He struck out a dozen to raise his season total to 64 in 51.2 innings of work -- best in the league this summer.