Plaza Tire built a nine-run lead then held on for the 9-5 win

Saturday, July 7, 2007
Plaza Tire's Jordan Payne connected with a pitch against the Riverdogs at Capaha Park on Friday. (Kit Doyle)

Asif Shah pitched seven shutout innings as the Capahas improved to 17-4.

Asif Shah was one of the better pitchers in the Ohio Valley Conference this year, leading Southeast Missouri State with seven wins while compiling a solid 3.22 ERA.

The left-hander had not yet lived up to that resume this summer for the Plaza Tire Capahas.

Until Friday night.

Shah, a first-team all-OVC selection as a senior for both his pitching and offensive prowess, worked seven shutout innings as the host Capahas held off the Charleston Riverdogs 9-5.

Capahas second baseman Omar Padilla, right, received a throw from Jamie MacAlister for a force out during their game against the Riverdogs at Capaha Park on Friday. (Kit Doyle)

Shah allowed just four singles -- two of them infield hits -- and four walks while striking out 12.

"I felt really good tonight," Shah said.

Perhaps Shah's biggest problem on the mound so far during his rookie season with the Capahas was getting back into the groove he had at Southeast.

Plaza Tire manager Jess Bolen did not pitch Shah for the first several weeks of the season after he had a heavy workload for the Redhawks.

Shah had logged just 13 innings over three appearances for the Capahas prior to Friday -- he was 0-2 with a 4.31 ERA -- which Bolen acknowledged probably made it difficult for his hurler to get in a rhythm.

Riverdogs pitcher Mike Taylor's mother Theresa Taylor, right, and girlfriend Krista Sanders watched him pitch from the bed of his yellow 1951 International truck at Capaha Park on Friday.

"He hasn't been pitching very much, and when he did he kind of struggled," Bolen said. "A lot of it was just location and getting into a groove, which is hard to do when you're not pitching that much.

"Tonight he looked like the old Asif."

Added Shah: "The first couple of outings I was just trying to get in a rhythm. Maybe I was overthrowing, but I wasn't really worried."

With Shah shutting the door through seven innings, the Capahas (17-4) piled up a 9-0 lead and continued their domination of the Riverdogs (7-9).

The Capahas have won 30 of the 31 meetings between the teams, including all four this year by a combined score of 43-11.

Jason Chavez, left, and Capahas manager Jess Bolen, right, watched Phillip Riley practice his dugout putting during the Capahas game Friday.

But Bolen was quick to compliment the Riverdogs -- in their ninth season of play -- for hanging tough and at least making things a bit interesting late.

"Give them credit. They kept playing hard," Bolen said.

Ahead 9-0, the Capahas had runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh.

Another tally and the game would end via the 10-run mercy rule.

But Brandon Stearns worked out of the jam to keep the contest going.

The Riverdogs then scored five eighth-inning runs against reliever Shane Mabury, with two of the runs unearned.

"Shane was a good pitcher for us last year and he just hasn't gotten much work yet, so I wanted to get him in the game," Bolen said. "He had some bad luck in that inning."

Josh Parham struck out the side in the ninth to end the Riverdogs' hopes of a miracle comeback.

"Shah is a really tough pitcher and we had trouble with him," Riverdogs co-manager Robin Minner said. "But I was proud of the way we hung in there."

The Capahas had 11 hits, led by Shah, Omar Padilla -- who celebrated his 24th birthday Friday -- Levi Olson and Jamie McAlister with two each.

Olson doubled and drove in three runs, while Zach Johnson added two RBIs.

Trevor Irwin and Dusty Leggett both had two of the Riverdogs' seven hits.

Mike Taylor took the loss, allowing four runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked eight.

"Mike has been pitching good for us, but he was all over the place," Minner said.

Matt Brunsworth gave up five runs and four hits in 2 1/3 innings. He walked four.

Stearns finished up with three scoreless frames, allowing three hits and one walk while fanning three.

"Brandon did a real good job," Minner said.

The Capahas host the Fairview Heights (Ill.) Redbirds at 1 p.m. today.

Capahas 9, Riverdogs 5

Riverdogs000000050--571
Capahas11214000X--9112

WP -- Asif Shah. LP -- Mike Taylor. 2B -- Levi Olson (C). Multiple hits -- Riverdogs, Trevor Irwin 2-5, Dusty Leggett 2-5; Capahas, Olson 2-3, Shah 2-3, Jamie McAlister 2-3, Omar Padilla 2-4. Records -- Riverdogs 7-9, Capahas 17-4.

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