Starter Hunter delivers strong performance in Capahas' Friday victory

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Plaza Tire Capahas have an extremely deep pitching staff this year.

So deep, in fact, that Dustin Hunter didn't make his first appearance of the season until the seventh game.

Hunter continued the Capahas' string of impressive mound performances with five strong innings Friday night during a 9-1 win over the visiting St. Louis Printers.

"It was pretty good. I could have done a little better," Hunter said.

Hunter allowed an unearned run and three hits while striking out six and walking none.

Hunter was his own worst enemy in the first inning when he suffered his only damage.

An infield single, a single and a double play left a runner on third with two outs.

Matt Zeller's ground ball to the right side was fielded by first baseman Sean Bard, who appeared to feed Hunter with a decent toss as he covered the bag. The ball glanced off Hunter's glove for an error, allowing the run to score.

"It just hit off the tip of my glove," Hunter said.

Hunter was not bothered by his miscue. He dominated the rest of the way, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.

"I thought he looked good," Capahas manager Jess Bolen said.

Hunter, a 2008 graduate of Senath-Hornersville High School, is in his third season with the Capahas. He played two seasons at Mineral Area College before having a solid junior campaign this year at Western Illinois University.

Hunter, who split time between starting and relieving at Western Illinois, hopes to lock down a spot in the Leathernecks' conference rotation next year. In the meantime, he's enjoying pitching for the Capahas.

"I love it," he said.

Former Southeast pitcher James Leigh picked up a save. He closed out the victory with four dominant innings. He allowed one baserunner -- on an infield single -- while striking out eight.

"It felt like it was coming out of my hand pretty good," said Leigh, Southeast's 2009 ace who still harbors hopes of a professional career after being sidelined last year by blood clots. "I'm working hard."

Bolen believes Leigh, who is only 25 and left-handed -- a strong selling point -- has a chance to get back to where he is considered a prospect.

"He's got a great arm," Bolen said. "He just dominated tonight."

Former Southeast player Darryl Graham went 3 for 3 to lead the Capahas' 12-hit attack. He also scored three runs.

But Graham's night was marred in the seventh inning. He pulled up with a hamstring injury as he rounded second base following an RBI hit.

Graham, who was thrown out at third base and had to settle for a double, likely will be sidelined for at least a few games.

"I do it once a year," said Graham, who last played for Southeast in 2007. "It's disappointing, but I'll be fine."

Former Arkansas State player Jordan Kimball went 3 for 4.

Ex-Mississippi Valley State standout and Central graduate Sean Bard added two hits.

Tyler Qualls, a 2010 Jackson graduate who plays at Louisiana Tech, drove in three runs.


WP -- Dustin Hunter. LP -- Hayden Brown. 2B -- Daryl Graham (C), Jordan Kimball (C), Dylan Drury (C). Multiple hits -- Capahas: Graham 3-3, Kimball 3-4, Sean Bard 2-5. Records -- Printers 4-6, Capahas 7-0.

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