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Capahas beat Golden Spikes, inclement weather
The Plaza Tire Capahas did more than enough on the field Saturday to avenge one of their five losses this year.
But only if Mother Nature would cooperate.
Plaza Tire narrowly made its contest with the St. Louis Golden Spikes official before a heavy rain shower rendered Capaha Field unplayable.
The Capahas came away with a 9-0 victory that ended after 4 1/2 innings. On June 11, the Golden Spikes beat Plaza Tire 8-5 in St. Louis.
"It's nice to get somebody back once they've already gotten you," Plaza Tire catcher Chad Mercado said. "It would have been unfortunate to get so close and then to have it rained out."
That nearly happened. Had Plaza Tire second baseman Josh Eftink not made a tumbling catch in short right field for the third out in the top of the fifth inning — heavy rain already had started falling by then — it's doubtful the game would have continued.
"If Josh doesn't catch that ball, the game's over. They would have had to stop it, and I really couldn't have said anything about it because the field was already pretty wet," Plaza Tire manager Jess Bolen said.
The Capahas improved to 24-5 by winning for the 19th time in their last 21 games. The Golden Spikes fell to 38-13.
"They've got a good team. But they swung aluminum that night they beat us and they had 24 guys dress out," Bolen said.
Both squads used wood bats Saturday — the Capahas do that all season — and the Golden Spikes came to Cape Girardeau with only nine players.
The Capahas were also a bit shorthanded as they were missing some of their key players for a variety of reasons.
Plaza Tire did have its top pitcher on the mound, which usually means good things for the Capahas.
Anthony Maupin continued his dominant summer by firing a three-hit shutout. Two of the three singles he allowed didn't leave the infield.
Maupin, who gave up just one hit over the final four innings, struck out eight and walked one. He improved to 7-0 and has allowed two earned runs in 46 innings.
"He's been tremendous all year," Bolen said. "I just hope he continues that out at Wichita [for next month[']s National Baseball Congress World Series]. He did last year."
Maupin, who completed his eligibility at Southeast Missouri State in 2006, said he has been in a groove from the beginning of the season.
"I started off quick. It just has been a good summer," Maupin said. "I've had a lot of offense and defense behind me, which really helps."
Since Maupin is two years removed from his college career, he said it's not that easy to remain motivated in preparation for his summer seasons.
But Maupin has been able to do it.
"I came out two months before the season and started running and throwing, getting in shape," he said.
While Maupin was in control, the Capahas' offense also did plenty of damage against the pitcher who beat them in the earlier meeting.
The Capahas reached Craig Floyd for all nine runs and six hits in the first two innings. Plaza Tire had five hits in the first game with the Golden Spikes, a nine-inning affair.
"It kind of surprised me we hit the ball like that against that pitcher," Bolen said.
Asif Shah went 2-for-2 with a double and three RBIs to lead the Capahas' seven-hit attack.
Daniel Schuh also had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs.
Plaza Tire jumped on Floyd for six first-inning runs as the Capahas sent 11 batters to the plate.
Shah had the big blow, a three-run double, while Schuh delivered a two-run single after he had led off the frame with a double.
Three more runs in the second inning — Mercado had an RBI triple — broke things open.
A short time later, dark clouds started moving in and the only real suspense left was whether the Capahas would be able to make the win official.
"It was starting to get a little wet," Maupin said. "Everybody wanted to get those last three outs."
The Capahas visit Springfield, Ill., today for a 1 p.m. doubleheader. Their final home game will be Friday night against Fairview Heights, Ill., a team they lost to on the road Tuesday night.
@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:WP — Anthony Maupin, 7-0. LP — Craig Floyd. 3B — Chad Mercado (C). 2B — Asif Shah (C), Daniel Schuh (C). Multiple hits — Capahas: Shah 2-2, Schuh 2-3. Records — Spikes 38-13, Capahas 24-5.