Riverdogs suffer 10-inning loss in quest for 1st win over Caps

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Plaza Tire emerged with an exciting 5-4 victory.

By Marty Mishow ~ Southeast Missourian

Despite never having beaten the Plaza Tire Capahas, the Riverdogs have played their Cape Girardeau baseball rivals close on several occasions.

But the Riverdogs perhaps never have had a better opportunity to finally defeat the tradition-rich Capahas than Friday night at Capaha Field.

Robbie Moore's bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Capahas to a thrilling 5-4 victory, their 13th consecutive triumph over the Riverdogs since that team was formed six years ago.

"We've had some really good games with them and have come very close to beating them," Riverdogs co-coach Robin Minner said. "But one of these times we have to break through. We had some really good chances tonight. It was a tough loss, but I'm proud of the way our guys hung in there and fought."

Less than one week after losing to the Capahas 17-5 in seven innings during the National Baseball Congress Mid-South Regional in Cape Girardeau, the Riverdogs gave Plaza Tire all it could handle and then some.

"It was a good ballgame. We've had some very good games with them even though we've won every time," Capahas manager Jess Bolen said.

The Capahas improved to 20-7 while the Riverdogs fell to 8-14.

Ironically, the Capahas' winning run in the 10th inning was fueled by an error on Riverdogs pitcher Steve Fowler, who otherwise matched Jason Chavez in an impressive duel.

With one out in the 10th, Tom Bolen hit a routine ground ball to Fowler, whose throw to first was wild as Bolen advanced to second on the two-base error.

Seth Hudson walked and Jamie McAlister singled to load the bases. Moore followed with a single to right field that scored Bolen and ended the contest.

"I was just trying to hit a fly ball somewhere deep enough to score a run," Moore said. "He happened to leave it out over the plate, but he's a good pitcher and he held us down really well."

Fowler allowed 11 hits and two earned runs. He struck out four and walked five.

"Steve threw a great game," Minner said. "I know he made the error in the 10th inning, but we wouldn't have been out there if it wasn't for him. He gave us everything he had."

Chavez, who also went the distance, gave up 11 hits and struck out 15 while walking only one. Two of the Riverdogs' runs were unearned.

"Jason pitched a really good game, and you also have to give Fowler credit," Bolen said. "Both pitchers did an excellent job."

Moore led the Capahas with three hits. Wade Walter, Levi Olson and Seth Hudson all added two hits. Tom Bolen drove in a pair of runs.

Bryan Austin paced the Riverdogs with three hits. Shane Gibson and Billy Palmer both had two hits, with Palmer delivering two RBIs.

Bolen's two-run double in the second inning put the Capahas up 2-0. Two unearned runs in the fifth made it 4-0 and it looked like Plaza Tire might cruise.

But RBI singles by Palmer and Greg Craft in the sixth pulled the Riverdogs within 4-2, then RBI singles by Austin and Palmer in the sixth -- both runs were unearned -- tied things at 4-4.

The Capahas host the St. Louis Golden Spikes today in a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader. Sunday, the Capahas and Riverdogs will take part in a tripleheader at Capaha Field that also involves the Evansville (Ind.) Outlaws and begins at 1 p.m.

"Hopefully if we can finish strong we can still get a bid to the NBC World Series," Moore said. "With our pitching, I think we have the kind of team to do some damage if we can get there."

Plaza Tire missed out on an automatic berth into the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kan., by finishing second in last weekend's Mid-South Regional, but the Capahas are still hopeful of a third consecutive at-large bid.

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