Capahas avenge loss to Valmeyer

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Plaza Tire won 9-0 as Hunter pitched shutout ball in hisPlaza Tire debut.

Dustin Hunter said he was somewhat nervous at the outset of his Plaza Tire Capahas debut.

That feeling quickly went away, much to the dismay of the Valmeyer (Ill.) Lakers.

Hunter pitched seven shutout innings Saturday as the host Capahas rolled to a 9-0 victory and a split of their two-game series with Valmeyer.

Valmeyer beat Plaza Tire 7-4 on Friday night. The Capahas are 2-1 and the Lakers are 5-3.

"At the very beginning I was nervous, but then I got comfortable," Hunter said.

Hunter allowed four hits in the longest outing by a Plaza Tire hurler so far this season. He struck out four, walked three and hit a batter.

"I felt good," said Hunter, a 2008 graduate of Senath-Hornersville High School who went 5-1 as a Mineral Area College freshman this year.

After Hunter completed his American Legion eligibility last summer -- he was a part of Dunklin County's powerhouse program that finished second in the zone tournament -- he was looking for a place to play.

Hunter attended the Capahas' recent open tryout along with MAC teammate Drew Pixley, a Dexter native. Both showed Plaza Tire manager Jess Bolen enough to make the team.

"I just got a hold of him [Bolen] and tried out," Hunter said. "I'm glad to be on a team like this."

Bolen came away impressed Saturday.

"He's got a nice slider," Bolen said. "That team hit the ball well last night, but he pretty well shut them down."

Hunter wasn't the only Plaza Tire rookie to contribute in the victory.

Pixley, the Capahas' leadoff batter who caught Hunter on Saturday after playing center field in the first two games, had two hits.

"He's done a good job for us," Bolen said.

Sean Bard, who played first base and also has been Plaza Tire's DH, went 3-for-4 for the second straight contest.

Bard, a Central product, enjoyed a strong two-year career at Mississippi Valley State as one of the Southwestern Athletic Conference's top hitters.

"He looks great, I think," Bolen said.

Kirk Boeller, a Notre Dame graduate who was a reliever for Southeast Missouri State this year in his initial season with the program, saw his first Capahas action.

Boeller finished the shutout with two dominant innings, allowing two hits and striking out five.

"He's also got a nice slider," Bolen said. "He did a good job."

Returning players Denver Stuckey and Kendal Deason both added two of Plaza Tire's 13 hits. Stuckey had two RBIs, as did returnee John Amschler.

Plaza Tire scored a run in the first inning, then began to open up some breathing room with a three-run second inning. It was 5-0 when the Capahas broke things wide open by scoring twice in both the seventh and eighth.

The Capahas, who swing wood bats most of the season, used aluminum Saturday because that's what Valmeyer went with all series. In Friday's defeat, Plaza Tire swung wood during the first seven innings and aluminum in the final two frames.

"It's much easier to put runs on the board with aluminum," Bolen said.

Plaza Tire plays a doubleheader today at Springfield, Ill.

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WP -- Dustin Hunter. LP --Chris Stenzel. 2B -- Jeremiah Bergheger (V), Chris Rohlfing (V), Kendal Deason (C), Josh Eftink (C), John Amschler (C). Multiple hits -- Capahas: Sean Bard 3-4, Drew Pixley 2-3, Denver Stuckey 2-4, Deason 2-5. Records -- Valmeyer 5-3, Capahas 2-1.

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