Capahas carve win out of wood
Plaza Tire defeated Fairview Heights 8-4 despite a disadvantage at the plate.
Using wood bats to the aluminum of their opponents, the Plaza Tire Capahas came out on the short end of the hit parade Friday night.
But that didn't prevent them from continuing their late-season surge as they defeated the visiting Fairview Heights (Ill.) Redbirds 8-4.
The Capahas, who had 10 hits compared to 12 for the Redbirds, posted their eighth consecutive victory and improved to 22-6.
"We just want to keep playing well and hopefully take a lot of momentum into the tournament," Plaza Tire catcher Levi Olson said.
Olson was referring to the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. The Capahas will make their 24th consecutive appearance in the event, as they are tentatively scheduled to play their first game on Aug. 1.
The NBC World Series is a wood bat tournament. The Capahas have played with wood most of the season, even when their opponents haven't. Such was the case Friday night.
"Right now, this late in the season, we really have no choice," Capahas manager Jess Bolen said. "It would probably hurt us to go back and forth right now.
"And really, I'm not sure it's bad. I think it helps our pitchers because it really forces them to pitch. You just can't get away making bad pitches with aluminum like you can with wood."
Olson joined five Plaza Tire players in getting two hits, and he drove in four runs, including three on a two-out double with the bases loaded in the seventh inning that expanded the Capahas' precarious 5-4 lead.
"I can't explain it, but I feel better hitting with wood," said a smiling Olson.
Also having two hits for the Capahas were Lance Seasor, Seth Hudson, Bryan Ingram and Bryan Kurt. Seasor reached base in all five plate appearances -- he was twice hit by pitches and walked once -- while Ingram added two RBIs.
The Capahas used four pitchers, with Lanson Debrock receiving credit for the victory. Debrock, Plaza Tire's second hurler of the night, allowed five hits and two runs in three innings. He struck out two and walked none.
Starter Dusty Renfrow gave up seven hits and two runs (one earned) in four innings, with one strikeout and one walk.
Chad Bogenpohl worked a hitless eighth, and Josh Parham did likewise in the ninth.
Brad Beatty led the Redbirds with four hits, including two doubles. Kent Munez added two hits.
Although the Capahas never trailed, they could not shake the Redbirds until late.
Plaza Tire broke a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning. Hudson led off with a single and later scored on a two-out single by Kurt.
The contest remained 5-4 until the seventh, when the Capahas loaded the bases with nobody out. The sacks were still full with two outs when Olson drove a 1-2 pitch into right-center for a three-run double.
"I'm surprised their pitcher came in with a fastball on the plate in that spot," Olson said.
The Capahas play a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader today at Valmeyer, Ill.