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Capahas claim two wins vs. Riverdogs
The Plaza Tire Capahas did not have a strong offensive performance Sunday.
But the Capahas received stout pitching and plenty of help from the Charleston Riverdogs' defense to sweep the wood-bat doubleheader at Capaha Field.
The Capahas, who improved to 3-0, managed just three hits in the opener but took advantage of five errors to score five unearned runs and win 6-0.
Plaza Tire had only six hits in the nightcap but capitalized on six more errors to score three unearned runs and rally for a 4-3 victory.
"We didn't hit the ball real well, but you've got to give their pitchers credit," Capahas assistant manager Tom Bolen said. "They have some good pitching, and our pitching was really good."
Charleston (0-2), which opened its season Sunday, matched the Capahas' total hits on the day -- nine, including eight in the finale -- and also got solid mound work, but 11 errors burned the Riverdogs.
"Our pitching was excellent and our defense was good at times, but our defense hurt us in both games," Riverdogs manager Paul Sander said.
Andrew Williams made a dazzling debut for the Capahas in the opener.
"Andrew really stepped up. I was really impressed with him," Bolen said.
Williams struck out three, walked two and allowed just one hit -- an infield single by Spencer Sander in the fourth inning.
"It was a little nerve-wracking at first, then I settled down," Williams said. "My first start, I figured I'd get hit a little more, but my curve was really working."
Williams, a 2011 Central High School graduate who has played the past two seasons at NAIA Lindenwood-Belleville in Illinois, is especially excited to be competing for one of the nation's oldest amateur baseball teams.
That's because Williams is following in the footsteps of his father, former longtime Central High School baseball coach Steve Williams. The elder Williams ranks among the Capahas' all-time top power hitters and overall players.
"It's pretty exciting, knowing how well he did with the Capahas," Williams said. "I'm trying to make a name for myself."
Christian Cavaness, Andrew Williams' former teammate at Central and his current teammate at Lindenwood-Belleville, played a major role in both wins.
Cavaness, a 2012 Central graduate also in his rookie year with the Capahas, had two of Plaza Tire's three hits in the opener, including an RBI triple. The center fielder also made a diving catch for the game's final out.
Cavaness then added two more hits in the nightcap, including an RBI double.
"I'm pretty excited to play for this team. It's always been a great team to play for," Cavaness said. "Me and Andrew, we've been together since we were like 8 or 9 years old."
Cavaness, who also competes for the Lindenwood-Belleville football program as a safety, has already displayed his athleticism through three games with the Capahas.
"He plays good defense, he runs well, he can hit. ... he's a really good athlete," Bolen said.
The Capahas broke a scoreless tie in the opener with four fifth-inning runs on just one hit, along with two errors and a walk. Cavaness had the only hit of the frame, an RBI triple.
Plaza Tire made it 6-0 with a two-run sixth inning despite not having a hit. The Capahas took advantage of two more errors and three walks.
Despite the Riverdogs' five errors in the opener, Charleston third baseman Dylan Koehler -- a 2012 Jackson graduate -- made two highlight reel plays.
Riverdogs starter Travis Smith was solid in defeat. He allowed all three hits and all six runs, one earned, in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and was hurt by five walks.
The Capahas needed a late rally to capture the nightcap after the Riverdogs plated all three of their runs during the fifth inning to go ahead 3-1.
Plaza Tire took advantage of four errors in the bottom of the fifth to score three unearned runs on just one hit, an RBI double by Cavaness. Jesse Schott, a 2012 Notre Dame graduate, drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
"We took advantage of what they gave us," Bolen said.
Kirk Boeller, one of the Capahas' veterans, notched the victory in the nightcap. The 2006 Notre Dame graduate and former Southeast Missouri State pitcher allowed eight hits and three runs, two earned, in five innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Logan Bartels, a 2011 Jackson graduate who plays a variety of positions for the Capahas, notched the save with two perfect innings. He struck out two.
"He has played every position for us. He just produces," Bolen said.
The Riverdogs got another strong starting performance, this time from 2012 Chaffee graduate Alex Davie. The left-hander allowed five hits and four runs, one earned, in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Spencer Sander, a 2011 Saxony Lutheran graduate, had two of Charleston's eight second-game hits and finished the day with three hits.
"We hit the ball much better in the second game," Paul Sander said.
Despite the two losses, Paul Sander is optimistic about his first-year team, which plays its home games at both Charleston's Hillhouse Park and Saxony Lutheran High School,
The Riverdogs primarily feature young players who graduated from area high schools over the past few years. Many of them currently compete for small colleges.
"When we put this team together, we thought we needed another team in this area for college level players," said Sander, the longtime baseball coach at Saxony Lutheran. "We want to be competitive. ... I think we feel pretty good about today, to be able to compete with a team like the Capahas. I was encouraged."
The Capahas play their next five games on the road beginning Friday against the St. Louis Bulls.
Riverdogs 000 000 0 -- 0 1 5
|Capahas||000 042 x -- 6 3 1|
WP -- Andrew Williams. LP -- Travis Smith. 3B -- Christian Cavaness (C). Multiple hits -- Capahas: Cavaness 2-4. Records -- Riverdogs 0-1, Capahas 2-0.
WP -- Kirk Boeller. LP -- Alex Davie. S -- Logan Bartels. 2B -- Christian Cavaness (C). Multiple hits -- Team: Riverdogs: Spencer Sander 2-3. Capahas: Cavaness 2-4. Records -- Riverdogs 0-2, Capahas 3-0.