Capahas end first weekend perfect mark

Monday, June 7, 2004

The Plaza Tire Capahas found hits hard to come by Sunday, but they still had little trouble finishing off a perfect opening weekend of baseball.

Plaza Tire had just three hits -- and only one after the second inning -- but four pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts and a five-hitter as the Capahas blanked visiting Springfield, Ill., 4-0.

The Capahas improved to 4-0 as they posted four home victories over the weekend, the first three against Valmeyer, Ill.

"It's a good start for us," said Capahas manager Jess Bolen, who Friday night recorded his 1,200th victory with the Cape Girardeau team. In his 38th season, Bolen has a 1,203-302 record.

Bolen considers the strength of this year's squad -- at least right now -- to be pitching. That was clearly evident all weekend, including Sunday.

"When you can march pitchers out there like I can, you should win a lot of games," Bolen said. "I can march out at least five guys in a row who can shut you out. I think we're still a couple of hitters short, but we have a lot of pitching."

Clearwater High School product Jamie McAlister received credit for the victory Sunday as he worked the first four innings, allowing one hit, with three strikeouts and no walks, although he hit two batters.

McAlister recently completed a standout career at Jefferson Junior College that was interrupted by elbow surgery, forcing him to redshirt in 2003. He suffered the injury pitching for the Capahas in the summer of 2002 against the same Springfield squad.

"I've had to change my delivery a bit, dropping down to the side more now," said the right-handed McAlister, who went 12-2 at Jefferson College this year and is being recruited by various NCAA Division I programs. "I probably lost three or four miles off my fastball, but I think I've made up for it with movement. Everything feels good."

Chad Bogenpohl, an Oak Ridge High School graduate who completed his eligibility at Southeast Missouri State University in 1999, was Plaza Tire's second pitcher Sunday. He went two innings, allowing three hits while striking out two and walking none. Bogenpohl has returned to the Capahas after a three-year absence.

"It's been a while," said a smiling Bogenpohl, also a right-hander. "I just like to compete and it's nice to be back."

Two more right-handers finished up. Kelly High School product Justin Simpher worked a perfect seventh, with two strikeouts. Josh Joiner, a first-year Capaha who plays for Southern Illinois University, fanned five, walked none and allowed one hit in two innings.

"We've got a lot of quality pitchers," McAlister said.

Springfield left-hander Bob Krohe was also impressive, save for his wildness. In six innings, Krohe allowed just three hits but walked nine and hit a batter. He fanned eight and gave up all four runs, three earned.

"He was tough, but he was wild," said Bolen, whose hurlers issued no walks.

The Capahas scored the only run they would need in the first inning as Eric Horstman, who had walked, came home on a throwing error as he was stealing third base.

In the second inning, Bryan Kurt doubled and scored on Robbie Moore's single. In the fifth, Wade Walter had an RBI triple and Levi Olson drove in the final run with a ground ball.

The Capahas' next game is Friday night against the Cape Girardeau Riverdogs.

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