Capahas baseball team runs home winning streak to 17

Sunday, July 15, 2012
Raging Bulls baserunner Zeke Putnum steals second base as Capahas second baseman Logan Bartels applies the tag during the fifth inning Friday at Capaha Field. Check out more photos from the game in our gallery at semoball.com. (Fred Lynch)

The Plaza Tire Capahas are enjoying an impressive season despite fielding one of longtime manager Jess Bolen's least experienced and youngest teams.

The Capahas have been much more than impressive at home, where they have been unbeatable.

The Capahas continued their perfect home record Friday night when they rolled past the St. Louis Raging Bulls 8-0.

Bolen's squad has won all 17 of its games played at Capaha Field this season.

"We're just jelling really well at home," Capahas veteran Sean Bard said. "We feel comfortable at home. It's always fun to play here."

The Capahas' second baseman Logan Bartels throws out a Raging Bulls baserunner during the first inning Friday, July 13, 2012 at Capaha Field. (Fred Lynch)

The Capahas (20-4), who only have four scheduled home games remaining, have a realistic shot at a rare perfect home record. They'll face a squad from Little Rock, Ark., next weekend in a pair of doubleheaders at 5 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

"We've had teams do it [go undefeated at home] before," said Bolen, who is in his 46th season managing the Capahas. "But it doesn't happen very often. I don't care who you play, it's not easy to do."

Bolen and his players said there are several factors that make for a big home-field advantage. All pointed to the strong fan base the Capahas have built over the years.

"We always have a good turnout. There are always a lot of people here supporting us," said Capahas veteran Jordan Kimball, who celebrated his 25th birthday Friday. "When we go on the road, we'll have like five people in the stands. It's hard to get going.

"It's also knowing your park, feeling confident at home."

Capahas starting pitcher Colton Young delivers during the first inning Friday.

Said Bard: "It's just a good atmosphere, good fans. There's just more enthusiasm. And this is the nicest field of any we play on."

The Capahas' strength in Cape Girardeau can't be attributed to their schedule being significantly softer at Capaha Field since they've lost on the road to several teams they've handled at home.

"It's a nice atmosphere. That's a big thing," Bolen said. "You're comfortable at home. You don't have to travel. Most teams in every sport play better at home than they do on the road.

"This is a big ballpark. We have speed in the outfield, guys who can track the ball down, and pitchers who throw strikes. Sometimes on the road we get in smaller ballparks and teams can outslug us, hit a lot of home runs. There aren't a lot of home runs hit here with wood."

Friday's contest featured a familiar pattern for the Capahas. They used strong pitching, solid defense and timely hitting to prevail in front of a sizable crowd.

Colton Young took care of most of the pitching. He fired six shutout innings for the win. He allowed two hits while striking out six and walking four.

"I thought Colton threw well," Bolen said. "He looked good."

The Capahas had 12 hits compared to just two for the Bulls, who were swept in a doubleheader at Capaha Field that featured two one-run decisions earlier this season.

"We had a hard time beating them the last time they were here," said Bolen, whose squad did not commit an error while taking advantage of five errors by the visitors.

Kimball, Jason Blum and Cole Bieser led the Capahas with two hits apiece.

Bieser doubled, drove in two runs and scored twice. Kimball doubled and scored twice. Blum tripled. Bard added two RBIs.

"I thought we hit the ball pretty well," Bolen said.

Tanner Hiett, Kimball and Kenton Parmley each pitched a hitless inning to finish the shutout. Kimball worked a perfect eighth, including two strikeouts.

"I wanted to throw Kimball and Parmley an inning," Bolen said about two team members who primarily are position players and not pitchers. "They've got really good arms, and we might need them when we go to Wichita" for the National Baseball Congress World Series.

The Capahas broke on top with two unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning by capitalizing on two errors by the Bulls.

Bieser led off by reaching on an error. He stole second and advanced to third on a single by Kimball.

After Blum was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Bard and Parmley lofted consecutive sacrifice flies.

Bieser's RBI double in the second inning made it 3-0.

The Capahas went ahead 5-0 in the fourth inning. Kimball delivered an RBI double, and Blum added an RBI single.

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WP -- Colton Young. LP -- Will Rogers. 3B -- Jason Blum (C). 2B -- Ryan Willis (B), Cole Bieser (C), Jordan Kimball (C). Multiple hits -- Capahas: Blum 2-3, Bieser 2-5, Kimball 2-5. Records -- Capahas 20-4.

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