4 run 8th propels Catfish over the Cornbelters

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (July 22) – The Catfish beat the Normal Cornbelters Saturday night before a crowd of almost 1,000 people . The final score was 8-4 but that’s just the score. There were so many story lines in this game that it’s hard to focus on one….the picture tells the story!

Story line one: The Cornbelters came into the game a little short handed as they made this 5 game road trip, traveling with 20 players. They had a first time starter on the mound name PJ Rpgan from Wildwood, MO (Parkland College). He is ambidextrous player, meaning when he’s pitching and there is a left handed batter he throws from the left side, when there is a right handed batter he throws from the right side. His glove is a specially made glove that had two thumbs and can be switched back and forth.

“In high school I played the outfield as a lefty and when I moved to the infield I played as a righty,” said Rogan when I talked to him after the game. He pitched a good game going 6.1 innings allowing four runs on nine hits, walking two and striking out two. From the left side, which is his dominant side, he threw 88, from his right he threw 86. You won’t see this very often so if you get a chance to watch this young man who is an incredible person as well, go see him play.

Story line two: Dante Zamudio (UC Irvine) , who has been heating up as of late as he’s one of four two way players who hasn’t seen as much time on the field and at the plate because of how important their arms are. Last night while his parents were in the air making their one trip to a Cape each summer, Dante was tripling and hitting home runs to lead the Catfish to a 12-2 win. “I told him he had to do it again tonight since we were here,” said his mom. He didn’t disappoint. With the score tied at four and the bases loaded with nobody out, Zamudio stepped to the plate a hit a shot into the left centerfield gap scoring three. The crowd erupted and as you can see by the picture I posted, the dugout went absolutely nuts. His parents were jumping for joy as for the second straight night he was awarded the Garbers Best Dressed Player of the Game green jacket. The first time all season someone had won it back to back.

Story line three: The Catfish offense who for the 4th straight game pounded out double digit hits. The team batting average for the season is at .301. The fish are 1st in runs (356), 2nd in hits (464), 1st in triples (20), 1st in RBI’s (318), 1st in OBP at .410 and 1st in slugging at .450. On Saturday night, Kevin McCarthy (University of Tennessee Southern), Brody Chrisman (Purdue University), Tucker Stockman (Southern Miss) and local star Lane Crowden (University of Southern Indiana) all had two hits. None of those bigger than the bases clearing triple that sent the fans and dugout into bedlam.

Story line four: The Catfish crowd. On a beautiful Saturday night in late July the park was electric. Almost 1,000 Catfish fans showed up and a nice handful of Cornbelter fans were on hand. Kelly the Clown had a line all night as she made balloon animals for the kids. Sugar Chic and Kenny’s Flippin’ Burgers had lines of people as well waiting to eat some great ballpark food. The Southeast Health Home Run deck was packed with people enjoying an “all inclusive” evening. The Papa Johns dugout Club was also packed with a group of 30 or so friends who decided to buy the club for the evening. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the Catfish score four runs in the bottom of the 8th to win their 33rd game of the season as they hold a 1 1/2 game lead over Chillicothe for the best record in the Prospect League. A position they’ve held since day one as they try and run it wire to wire.

Yes , on a beautiful Saturday night at “The Pond” as we call Capaha these days, 1,000 people inside and another 100 up on cherry hill enjoyed a Catfish win. Here’s how it looked. The Catfish starter, Noah Gadberry (MAC), local Notre Dame High School alum, making his 4th start and 15th appearance which leads the team had a great night. He didn’t get the win but he pitched five scoreless innings on 80 efficient pitches, especially after the 1st. He scattered two hits, three walks and struck out three and left with the Catfish up 4-0.

The Catfish offense jumped on Rogan early scoring one run in the 1st which would have been more if Chris Hall (Lincoln Memorial University) who had walked wouldn’t have slipped and fell rounding second on a single by McCarthy. He was thrown out trying to scramble back to 2nd. the Catfish scratched out one on a two out double by Lane Crowden who has his average up to .291 on the season.

The Catfish would score a run in the 2nd and two more in the 3rd. Quinton Borders (Crowder) had an rbi ground out in the second and in the 3rd Crowden who had three rbi’s on the night came through with a big two run single to right center scoring Carinci (Eastern Kentucky) and McCarthy.

The Catfish were up comfortably 4-0 but had left baserunners all over the place and had three players thrown out at second. They knew four would be tough against a good hitting Cornbelters team and in the 7th the catfish ran into trouble. The reliable Curry Sutherland (MO State) breezed through the 6th but with one out in the 7th a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out and Catfish skipper Scott Little elected to go to the newly arriving Devyn Terbrak Western Kentucky). Terbrak from Perryville, MO looked very sharp but a couple of broken bat bloopers and a walk and all of a sudden its a 4-4 game in the 7th. Trebrak would settle in, pitch a scoreless 8th and set up one of the most fun innings of the summer.

Normal brought in lefty Ryne Willard (College of DuPage) to face the Catfish. As he’s done all summer, Brody Chrisman singled up the middle to start the inning. Back to back walks to Crowden and to Godsey (Belmont) and then a walk set up the drama. With the crowd buzzing and Zamudio’s parents cheering him on, Dante took a 1-0 fastball and drove it deep into the left centerfield gap. The bases cleared and the place went crazy. When the Cornbelters head coach came out to make a pitching change the dugout stood on the bench and started dancing and a few players jumped on the dugout to “pump up” the crowd. “It was spontaneous,” said Chrisman and Hall after the game. “You probably won’t see that again as far as the dugout goes, but it was just so electric as we knew Dante’s parents were above us watching.”

Indeed it was electric and when the game ended, the Catfish had win #33. The fans wouldn’t leave the ballpark as they were celebrating and as the Normal team walked out I had a chance to talk to their coaches. “You guys have a very good baseball team and a really good vibe going on here. One of the best we’ve seen all summer long.” Indeed we do. Let’s see if the Catfish can bang out #34 as Jorge Romero straddles the rubber at 4:35 tonight for the Catfish.

GAME NOTES: Waves Mini Donuts will be at the park tonight. Remember Sunday is a 4:35pm start. It’s FCA night at the park as the first 200 grade school and high school students in attendance receive a free tee shirt.