Newton Rebels eliminate Capahas from NBC World Series

Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Capahas catcher Levi Olson tagged out Newton's Matt Fuller at home plate in the ninth inning Monday during the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. (Larry W. Smith ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

WICHITA, Kan. -- The Plaza Tire Capahas' run at the National Baseball Congress World Series finally came to an end Monday morning.

Plaza Tire, after posting three consecutive wins from the losers bracket following a first-round setback, was defeated 5-3 by the Newton (Kan.) Rebels.

The Capahas finished the 42-team event officially tied for 13th place. Plaza Tire went a combined 1-6 in the tournament the three previous years.

"We had a good run and I'm really proud of them," said Plaza Tire manager Jess Bolen, whose squad ended the season with a 24-11 record after making its 25th straight NBC World Series appearance. "We went out there shorthanded and everything, but I thought we played pretty good to tell you the truth.

"After we lost that first game, I'm sure not a lot of people thought we'd come back and do much of anything. To win three in a row like we did, and eliminate some really good teams, was very satisfying. And we could have very easily won this game today."

The Capahas' Robby Moore, right, celebrated with teammates Jordan Payne, left, and Zach Johnson after scoring in the first inning of Monday's 5-3 loss to the Newton Rebels during the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. (Larry W. Smith ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

The Capahas, who came from behind to win two of their previous three tournament games, found themselves behind 5-1 after three innings Monday.

Plaza Tire battled back to within 5-3 on Jordan Payne's two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

But the Capahas failed to capitalize on chances the rest of the way. They left the bases loaded in the sixth and stranded two runners in both the seventh and eighth before going down in order in the ninth.

"We had a lot of chances to win that game. It's not like we were overmatched," Bolen said. "We couldn't come up with the big hit when we needed it, but they had pretty good pitching. That's what happens against good pitching."

Levi Olson went 3-for-5 to lead the Capahas' nine-hit attack, while Chris Gibson was 2-for-4. Gibson and Olson both had eight hits in the tournament to lead Plaza Tire. Gibson drove in a team-high seven runs, while Olson had six RBIs.

"They both had good tournaments, and we had a lot of guys with good tournaments," Bolen said.

Jason Chavez was the losing pitcher. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and five runs (four earned).

Jamie McAlister relieved Chavez and was brilliant, allowing four hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked none.

"He pitched great and kept us in the game," Bolen said.

Bolen said performing well in the season-ending tournament was a nice way to end what had been an up-and-down campaign, featuring numerous injuries and the serious illness of his wife Mary, who is now recovering nicely.

"I'm really satisfied for the guys. They came out here, played hard and got some respect," Bolen said. "It's a good way to end the season, because it was such a frustrating year with everything that's gone on, with all the injuries and Mary being sick.

"Sometimes teams just play good together. We really didn't have an overabundance of talent or depth, but they played good ball together and they were a good bunch of kids. It wound up being a good summer."

Now Bolen, who has a 1,277-333 record in 40 seasons as the Capahas' manager, is already looking ahead to next year.

"I think something like what we did out here gets you even more pumped up for next season," Bolen said. "We're going to add some players and we'll have a good team."

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