Capahas bow out of National Baseball Congress World Series

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A lack of offense ultimately doomed the Plaza Tire Capahas during their 31st consecutive appearance at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan.

The Capahas were eliminated from the 78th annual event with Friday's 5-2 loss to the San Diego (Calif.) Force.

That defeat came about 15 hours after the Capahas suffered their first tournament loss, 3-1 to the El Dorado (Kan.) Broncos in a game that ended at 12:49 a.m. Friday.

The Capahas began the 32-team, double-elimination event Monday with a 1-0 victory over the Topeka (Kan.) Golden Giants.

"We just didn't hit the ball well enough," Capahas manager Jess Bolen said. "You have to score runs. How often do you win 1-0? Our pitching was very good. If you had told me before the tournament the most any team would score against us is five runs, I would have said we might have won all of them."

The Capahas (26-9) managed just 11 hits and four runs, only one earned, in their three tournament games.

"You expect to see good pitching. But if we had just hit a little bit, we're probably 3-0," Bolen said. "But you have to credit the other teams. Everybody is good. I'm not disappointed. The guys gave it a good effort."

Bolen actually thought the Capahas hit the ball well Friday against San Diego, unlike during their first two tournament games, but they ran into bad luck.

"We did hit a lot of balls hard, they just happened to be right at people," Bolen said. "A lot of line drives. We just didn't get them to fall."

The Capahas grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Both runs were unearned. Kenton Parmley reached on a two-out error, Joe Campbell walked and Mark Hagedorn delivered a two-RBI double.

That's the way things stood until the bottom of the sixth inning, when the Force went ahead for good with a four-run rally that featured five hits, including two doubles. All the runs scored with two outs off starter Logan Holthaus.

Bolen said better defense would have prevented San Diego from scoring in the inning. He said two balls were misplayed in the outfield, including one that would have been the third out before the Force had scored.

"We should have caught two balls," Bolen said. "They were ruled hits, but they should have been errors. That's the way we marked them in our score book. Those were routine plays that we let the ball drop. You have to make those plays."

The Force got a home run in the seventh inning to round out the scoring.

"We really should have won that game," Bolen said. "Logan pitched very well. You have to make plays behind him."

Holthaus took the loss. He allowed four runs and 10 hits over six innings. He struck out two and walked two.

Kyle Marshall allowed one run on one hit in one inning. Billy Roll, who joined the Capahas for the tournament, finished on the mound with a perfect eighth inning. He struck out one.

Adam Byrd pitched eight innings for the victory. He allowed five hits and two runs while striking out just one and walking one.

The Capahas were outhit 11-5. Hagedorn led the Capahas with two hits.

Stone dominates

Josh Stone was too much for the Capahas during their second-round winners bracket game against perennial tournament power El Dorado, which has won five NBC World Series titles, most recently in 2009.

Stone struck out 13, walked only one and allowed four hits in a complete-game effort. He needed just 106 pitches.

"He's really an outstanding pitcher," Bolen said. "He struck out six in a row at one point."

The Broncos took advantage of eight walks issued by the Capahas. El Dorado also stole five bases.

"They were loaded with speed," Bolen said.

The Broncos scored single runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings to lead 3-0. Two of the runs came without the benefit of a hit.

The Capahas avoided a shutout in the top of the ninth inning. Cole Bieser tripled with one out and scored on a ground out by Jordan Kimball.

Jason Blum had two of the Capahas' four hits.

Dustin Hunter was the losing pitcher. He allowed three runs and three hits over six-plus innings. He struck out six and walked seven.

"Dustin pitched well," Bolen said. "It was a good ballgame."

Ryan Kendall, who joined the Capahas for the tournament, finished on the mound with two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and walked one.

"We had a good enough year with the talent we had," said Bolen, who has led the Capahas to a 1,433-388 record in his 46 seasons managing one of the nation's oldest amateur baseball teams. "With the inexperience, the young kids we had, I thought we did well."

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