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Capahas latch on to win No. 7
The Plaza Tire Capahas passed their first major test of the young season with high marks Friday.
On a night that featured Plaza Tire's biggest crowd so far -- thanks partly to about 50 area cub scouts and their parents who were in attendance -- the Capahas held off the visiting Waterloo (Ill.) Buds 6-3.
Plaza Tire improved to 7-0, while perennial power Waterloo fell to 10-3 as the Buds had a five-game winning streak snapped.
"We were looking forward to this game. This was a good test for us," the Capahas' Levi Olson said. "They've always got a really good team and it's fun to play a team like that."
The Capahas had outscored their first six opponents 72-18, but they didn't expect to roll over the Buds.
"It kind of lets us see a little more competition, see where we're at," Plaza Tire's Jordan Payne said. "It's good for us to play a team like that."
The cub scouts were introduced as a group on the field prior to the contest. Then, right before the top of the fifth inning, they were invited back on the field to run the bases.
Whether the youngsters sparked the Capahas is open to debate, but a half-inning later -- in the bottom of the fifth -- they exploded for five runs to erase a 1-0 deficit.
"I don't know whether that had anything to do with it or not," Capahas manager Jess Bolen said with a laugh. "But it was nice to see the kids out there having a good time.
"They were our special guests tonight, and who knows, there might be some future Capahas players in that group."
The Capahas were held to just one hit -- an infield single -- and two base runners through the first four innings by Waterloo pitcher Mark Mueller.
But they finally got to Mueller in the fifth as they sent 10 batters to the plate.
Four of the Capahas' seven hits came in that frame. Four of the runs scored with two outs, the key blow being a two-run single by Payne. Olson and Robby Moore added RBI singles.
"It was a good inning for us," Olson said.
That uprising was more than enough for Plaza Tire pitchers Phillip Riley and Josh Parham.
Riley allowed two hits and a run in the opening inning, then gave up just one hit over the next five shutout frames. He earned the victory after striking out five and walking two.
Parham earned a save by hurling the final three innings. He allowed two hits and a pair of unearned runs while fanning five and walking one.
"Phil and Josh both threw well," Payne said.
Bolen was quick to agree.
"I thought Phillip was really good," Bolen said. "He could have probably gone at least another inning but I didn't want to push him. And Josh came in and did a good job."
The Capahas padded their 5-1 lead with a seventh-inning run that scored with two outs. Payne tripled and came home on Olson's single.
Waterloo scored two unearned runs in the eighth to make it 6-3, but the Buds got no closer.
"I like the way we can hit the ball up and down the lineup," Olson said. "I'm really excited about this team. I think we've got a lot of potential."
So does Bolen.
"There's still a long way to go, but I do think we've got a pretty solid ballclub all the way around," Bolen said. "Tonight was a good game for us because Waterloo is a very high-quality team."
Payne and Olson each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Capahas offensively.
The Capahas are right back in action today at home, facing the St. Louis Printers in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
"We just want to continue playing well," Olson said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
Capahas 6, Waterloo 3
WP -- Phillip Riley. LP -- Mark Mueller. Sv -- Josh Parham. 3B -- Jordan Payne (C). 2B -- Travis Dawson (W). Multiple hits -- Capahas, Payne 2-4, Levi Olson 2-4. Records -- Capahas 7-0, Waterloo 10-3.