Capahas rally for victory

Thursday, August 3, 2006
Levi Olson, right, celebrated with his Plaza Tire Capahas teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning Wednesday against the Austin (Texas) Gold Sox during the National Baseball Congress World Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kan. (Larry W. Smith ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

WICHITA, Kan. -- The Plaza Tire Capahas bounced back from a first-round defeat to remain alive in the National Baseball Congress World Series.

Plaza Tire scored 11 consecutive runs and knocked off the Austin (Texas) Gold Sox 12-8 Wednesday morning in the loser's bracket of the 42-team event.

The Capahas (22-10) will play another elimination game Friday, against the Rock City (N.C.) Red Sox at a time yet to be determined.

"It was a good win for us, especially after we got down early in the game," said Capahas manager Jess Bolen, whose squad lost to the Houston Apollos 12-4 in Saturday's opening round. "Hopefully we can get some more wins out here."

The Capahas, making their 25th straight NBC World Series appearance, had won only once -- 2004 -- in their three most recent trips.

Wednesday started off on a rocky note as well. The Gold Sox put together a five-run bottom of the fourth inning to take a 5-1 lead. That start was similar to the contest against the Apollos, when Plaza Tire fell behind 4-0 early.

But this time the Capahas roared back. They immediately tied the contest by scoring four times in the top of the fifth inning, the key blow being Levi Olson's two-run home run with two outs that made it 5-5.

The Capahas went ahead for good with four more runs in the sixth inning. Robby Moore's bases-loaded walk broke the tie, and Chris Gibson's two-run single made it 8-5. Olson's RBI ground out capped the rally.

Three unearned runs in the seventh -- Plaza Tire had just one hit but took advantage of two errors -- put the Capahas ahead 12-5.

The Gold Sox scored three runs in the ninth.

"The two biggest hits of the game were Olson's two-run homer in the fifth that tied it and Gibson's bases-loaded single in the sixth that made it 8-5," Bolen said.

Gibson went 4-for-4 and drove in four runs to lead the Capahas' seven-hit attack. He tripled, had three singles and added a sacrifice fly. In the first-round loss, Gibson had two hits.

"He's really on fire out here," Bolen said. "He also hit the ball really well in our regional tournament."

Gibson, the son of former Cardinals' great and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson, was the most valuable player last month when the Capahas won the NBC Mid-South Regional that they hosted. He played the past two seasons at Southeast Missouri State.

"I'm sure he's attracting the attention of some of the [professional] scouts out here," Bolen said. "It would be nice for him to get a shot at playing somewhere. Maybe some of our other guys, too."

In addition to Olson delivering three RBIs, Moore and Zach Johnson both scored three runs despite not having a hit.

Plaza Tire's pitching star was Jamie McAlister, who got the victory in relief.

McAlister replaced starter Jason Chavez during Austin's five-run fourth and recorded the final out. He then pitched four shutout innings before allowing three runs in the ninth. Josh Parham recorded the final out.

In five innings, McAlister allowed six hits and three runs, with two strikeouts and two walks.

"He came in and was outstanding," Bolen said. "He got a little tired in the ninth, but overall he pitched really well."

Chavez gave up seven hits and five runs -- four earned -- in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked three.

"He got a couple of tough breaks," Bolen said. "The inning where they got their five runs, there were two outs. They got a legitimate double, then a guy broke his bat and hit a hump-back liner into center that barely dropped in. Then they scored all those runs."

Seth Spiker had three of Austin's 13 hits.

Bolen said either Chad Bogenpohl or Kyle Perry will start Friday's game.

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