Eudora — Although Eudora High senior Matthew Abel stood on his school's Cardinal Field, he served as the opposition.
"It's kind of awkward, being in this setting," he said, "and being on the other side."
Abel's summer team, the Lawrence Raiders, defeated the Eudora Cardinals - a team replete with his high school teammates - 11-3, Thursday night during a nine-inning game.
Those high school teammates, included his cousin, Cardinals first baseman Morgan Abel, who lost an opportunity for family bragging rights.
"I'll give him some jokes here and there about beating him and everything but nothing serious," Matthew Abel said. "He's a good kid. I just really like playing with him, playing against him."
Originally scheduled as a doubleheader, both squads agreed to play one nine-inning contest to make up for a shortage of available arms. Preston Scheibler was supposed to start Game Two for the Raiders, but a delayed flight out of California forced him to miss the game.
Travis Spurling, though, did not need any relief. He pitched a complete game, throwing about 126 pitches. He said his arm was tired but eschewed any ice. He planned on a postgame run to work out the lactic acid.
"He threw extremely well," Raiders coach Shaun Edmondson said. "When he's called upon to do his job, he usually does what he's told and throws a lot of strikes and fills it up."
Spurling started slowly as the Cardinals scored three runs in the first inning. But he slowed down his mechanics and relied on his curveball to shut out Eudora the rest of the way.
"I realized that I can just hit my spots and let my defense work behind me," Spurling said.
Meanwhile the Raiders offense provided support, totaling 10 hits and nine walks. John Novotny and Joe Kornbrust both doubled during the first inning, which helped the team stake out a 4-0 lead. That duo also scored as part of three-run rallies during the third and seventh innings.
The ninth inning featured a rarity. After Matthew Abel singled and advanced to third on two errors, he made his first ever attempt at stealing home, but the Cardinals threw him out.
"I've always wanted to steal home," Abel said, "0-for-1 - off to a bad start."
Thursday's game not only created a bizarre experience for Abel, but also for Edmondson, who helps coach Eudora during the school season.
"It's a little different," Edmondson said. "I'd look at one of their guys hitting and I wanted to say something, but I had to remember I'm coaching the other team."
The Raiders (22-15), who run-ruled the Cardinals twice during the team's previous doubleheader on July 3, won again easily. That allowed position players such as Chris Fieger and Caleb Gress to gain at bats. Both walked during the eighth inning.
"A lot of guys contributed," Edmondson said. "You have to have the whole team compete in order to be successful. Today we were able to do that."