Nothing like a little batting practice to shake Cape Girardeau's Ford & Sons American Legion baseball team out of its offensive funk.
Actually, make that a lot of batting practice.
Coming off a five-hit performance in a Monday night loss to Dunklin County, Cape manager Tom Reinagel had his players at Capaha Field at 4 p.m. Wednesday -- 2 1/2 hours before their scheduled game against Chaffee.
The extra work paid off when Cape pounded out 18 hits during a 17-3 romp that was stopped after 6 1/2 innings by the 10-run rule.
Cape is 5-5 overall and 2-2 in District 14. Defending American Legion state champion Chaffee, which has an entirely new roster and coaching staff, fell to 2-8 and 0-3.
"We came out and took a lot of batting practice and soft toss," Cape's Tyler Schlosser said. "It made a difference."
Schlosser, about the only Cape player who didn't struggle against Dunklin County and had three hits, matched that total Wednesday. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, four runs batted in and three runs scored.
Adding to the offense
Plenty of others joined the Ford & Sons hit parade, including Aaron Dohogne, who went 4-for-4 and had two doubles.
"I got my swing down and felt good," Dohogne said. "Dunklin County was a tough team, but it's good to break out tonight, especially against an area rival."
Timmy Wencewicz went 4-for-5, with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Matt Wulfers had two hits and three RBIs, Josh Ford had two hits and two RBIs and Seth Hudson scored three times.
"When you bring them out at 4 o'clock and take batting practice...," said Reinagel, smiling. "It was good to see them snap back."
Offense was not Cape's only strength Wednesday. Ace pitcher John Thies improved to 4-0, with all four victories being complete games. The left-hander allowed five hits and two earned runs, with nine strikeouts and three walks.
"I have to compliment John," said Dohogne, Cape's catcher. "He was working his split-finger -- I think it was a split-finger -- and not a lot of them were touching it."
Tyler Nelson had two of Chaffee's five hits. Major Burger and Tyler Cookson delivered RBI doubles in the seventh inning as Chaffee put together its only real offense of the night after trailing 17-1 entering the frame.
Trey Graviett was touched for 13 hits and 13 runs in 4 2/3 innings, although six of the runs were earned. Chaffee committed five errors.
Jason Umfleet allowed five hits and four runs, all earned, in 1 1/3 innings.
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