Capahas roll into final

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Plaza Tire Capahas continued their rampage through the National Baseball Congress Mid-South Regional on Saturday night.

Plaza Tire improved to 2-0 in the four-team, double-elimination event by blistering the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Braves 18-2 at Capaha Field to roll into the championship round.

The Capahas (17-6), who routed the St. Louis Toros 10-0 in Friday's opening round, need one more victory to claim the title and earn an automatic bid to the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kan.

"They want this tournament, and they're playing like they want it," said Plaza Tire manager Jess Bolen, whose squad has settled for second place in its own regional the past three years. "But we haven't done anything yet, not until we win the tournament."

Plaza Tire will play either the Braves or Toros at 3 p.m. today, with one of those teams needing to beat the Capahas twice to win the championship. The Braves and Toros squared off late Saturday night in the losers bracket final that was still being played at press time.

"We're in a good position, but we still have to keep the momentum going and finish it off," Plaza Tire's Josh Eftink said. "We want to just keep rolling on all cylinders."

Eftink was plenty responsible in helping the Capahas keep their offense clicking.

A former standout at Notre Dame High School who recently completed his senior season for NCAA Division II powerhouse Central Missouri State, Eftink went 5-for-6 with two home runs and a double. He drove in six runs and scored four times.

Eftink, a right-handed batter, homered to right field and to left field. He also homered Friday night and earlier in the week -- all with wood bats. He has eight hits in the two tournament games.

"I felt good tonight. I was getting good pitches to hit and it was a good day," said the soft-spoken Eftink in something of an understatement. "Any time you hit home runs with wood, you're somewhat surprised, but sometimes they come in bunches."

Bryan Ingram also homered for the Capahas. He added two doubles and went 4-for-4.

Tom Bolen contributed three of the Capahas' 20 hits, while Seth Hudson, Bryan Kurt and Josh Ford each added two hits.

Both of Ford's safeties came during his only two plate appearances in the top of the ninth inning -- Plaza Tire was the visiting team on the scoreboard -- as the Capahas broke things wide open by plating nine runs.

Hudson reached base in all six plate appearances -- he walked three times and was hit by a pitch -- and still has not been retired in the tournament. Friday, he was 4-for-4 and was hit by a pitch.

"We're playing really good now and we just have to keep it going," Hudson said.

Derek Herbig pitched the first seven innings for the victory, allowing seven hits and two runs. He struck out five and walked one. Jamie McAlister finished up with two perfect innings, fanning three.

The game was actually competitive for a while. The Capahas, after going ahead 5-0 early, led 5-2 after five innings. But two runs in the sixth, two in the eighth and nine in the ninth caused the blowout.

Cory McCoy and Joe Jones both had two hits for the Braves.

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