Capahas welcome national power

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crestwood took third at the NBC World Series in 2006 and '07.

The Plaza Tire Capahas will host one of the nation's elite amateur teams for the second year in a row.

Manager Jess Bolen hopes his Capahas can repeat the type of success they had against the Crestwood (Ill.) Panthers in 2008.

Crestwood, a Chicago suburb, will be in town for a three-game weekend series. There will be a 5 p.m. doubleheader today and a single contest Sunday at a time to be determined.

"We're looking forward to them coming in here again," Bolen said. "They're a big-time team, one of the best in the country. I think it's good for our fans to watch us play a team like that."

Crestwood has finished in the top 12 at the National Baseball Congress World Series the past seven years, including taking third place in both 2006 and 2007.

The Capahas also have quite a tradition, with 27 consecutive trips to the NBC World Series and numerous top-10 finishes. Their most recent best showings are seventh in 2006 and 2007.

"We've got a very good program and so do they," said Bolen, who has a 1,346-353 record in his 43rd season as the Capahas' manager. "Finishing third in the nation two straight years, that tells you how good they are."

Plaza Tire swept last year's three-game series with the Panthers, led by dominant pitching.

The Capahas beat Crestwood 5-2, 6-0 and 4-2 while allowing a total of 12 hits.

"We really played well against them here last year, but all three were good games," Bolen said. "And we're not the same team we were last year.

"Right now, if you said we could have two out of three, I wouldn't even play the games. I think it's going to be a really tough series for us."

Plaza Tire's roster has undergone quite a bit of turnover from 2008. Two of the three pitchers who beat Crestwood last summer no longer are with the Capahas.

The Capahas, riding a three-game winning streak, are 8-5. They lost just seven games last year. Crestwood enters the weekend series at 7-3.

"It should be a good series," Bolen said. "I think our fans will enjoy it."

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