WICHITA, Kan. -- The Plaza Tire Capahas will have plenty of free time before their next game in the National Baseball Congress World Series.
That's because they lost to the Wichita Gators 4-1 late Monday night in the opening round of the 42-team, double-elimination.
A win would have allowed the Capahas to play again Tuesday night, but the loss means they won't see action until Friday. The time for that elimination contest, against either the Maxim (Calif.) Yankees or the Clarinda (Iowa) A's, has not yet been determined.
"We could have driven back, but it's over 500 miles and we wouldn't have gotten back until probably late Tuesday night, then we'd have to turn right around and drive back out here Thursday," Capahas manager Jess Bolen said. "The motel rooms aren't cheap, but it didn't really make any sense to drive all the way home for basically one day.
"We'll find things to do. We'll go the ballpark, watch a lot of baseball, go to the mall, and we'll try to find a high school field to take some batting practice."
Lack of offense doomed the Capahas (24-7) against the Gators (22-25), as Plaza Tire had its 10-game winning streak snapped. Despite a losing record, the Wichita squad proved to be plenty formidable.
"They were a good ballclub. Records don't mean a whole lot, because when you get to this tournament, teams stock up their rosters," Bolen said. "Out here, every team is good. It was a good game, but we just didn't have enough offense.
"You have to score more than one run to win."
The Capahas had just six hits, all singles, and their lone run was unearned. No player had more than one hit. Joe Hallahan pitched seven innings for the Gators, allowing five hits. He struck out five and walked three.
"Their pitcher was tough," Bolen said. "He was a lefthander, and I bet he was throwing 87 to 90 miles per hour."
Plaza Tire starter Jason Chavez took the loss, allowing 11 hits and four runs in seven innings. He struck out five and walked one. Jamie McAlister fanned four and allowed one hit in two scoreless frames.
"Jason and Jamie both pitched well," Bolen said. "A lot of their hits were pop flies and broke bats. Jason pitched a lot better than the stats show."
After the Gators grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Capahas scored their lone run in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Bryan Austin walked and Robby Moore reached on an error. Seth Hudson then singled to plate Austin.
The Gators went ahead for good with three runs in the fourth, all the damage coming after there were two outs and nobody on base.
Nate McKeon and Casay Larson both singled, then Luke Naccarato delivered an RBI single. Chris Iverson followed with a two-run double.
"We didn't make an error, and we made some really good plays," Bolen said. "But we just didn't hit well enough, and when we did get a couple of men on base, we hit into two double plays."
Bolen said he is still hopeful that the Capahas can make some noise in the tournament, but their offense will have to pick up.
"We can still do some damage out here," he said. "I don't have any problem with our defense or pitching, it's just a matter if we can score some runs. If we can put up four or five runs, we can win some games."
Bolen said Matt Stroup will start Friday's game.