Catfish fall to the Gems on throw back jersey night 9-7

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (July28) – For those who say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, well you might be getting a little nervous about your Catfish. The Catfish set a Prospect League Record when they won 12 straight to start the 2023 season back on May 31st. On June 23rd they beat the Jackson Rockabillies 4-3 to move to an incredible 19-2. They cruised to securing the first half title and a home playoff game a week from Sunday on August 6th. That was their goal, as a collective team and organization, win the first half. Survive while teammates join those first three weeks and get that home playoff game. Mission Accomplished!

Since that date the Catfish are 15-15. In the second half they are now 12-11 after last night’s 9-7 loss at the hands of the Quincy Gems who are fighting for a playoff birth one game up in their division.

No one thought the Catfish would play the second half like the did the first half but the losing lately is concerning because with seven games left and no break between the last game of the regular season and the first playoff game, this team needs to find some consistency, some momentum. Prospect league summer baseball is a war of attrition. Who keeps what players, how long arms can last, how you substitute to give guys rest and keep other guys sharp. Ebbs and flows after such a hot start in this league is common. What’s concerning the most in the second half is that in the last six games decided by 2 runs or less, the Catfish are 0-6. They were blowing people out early and winning close games. Lately they are doing neither.

Last night another case and point. With Caden Bogenpohl (MO State) towing the rubber for the 11th time and 5th start, you had to feel pretty good on throwback jersey night. You had to feel even better when Lane Crowden (University of Southern Indiana) hit his 4th homer of the season, a 3-run bomb to straight away centerfield to give Bogey and the Catfish a 3-0 lead. The gems got one in the 2nd and the Catfish answered when Crowden doubled home Carinci (Eastern Kentucky) for his 4th rbi in two innings and a 4-1 Catfish lead after two.

Bogey ran into some trouble in the top of the 3rd. A leadoff walk, a hard single, another hard single and then a bases clearing double by Lucas Loos (Oakland University) and all of a sudden it’s a 4-4 game. The Catfish would break the tie when Clarke (Belmont University) scored on a bases loaded wild pitch.

Bogenpohl lasted 2.1 innings and Ochoa (Cumberland University) who has been resting his arm a bit came in and shut the Gems down for 1.2 innings. With a 5-4 lead Scott Little turned to Cam Lewis (West Virginia State) for his 15th appearance but the Gems ambushed Lewis. They scored three runs on two hits and two walks to take a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the 7th when the Catfish rallied and scored two.

Poorman (Eastern Illinois) walked, Clarke singled and Hall (Lincoln Memorial University) laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases with no outs. Zamudio hit into a fielders choice scoring Poorman making it 7-6. Carinci singled past 3rd base scoring Clarke to tie the game at seven.

Curry Sutherland (MO State) came in and did a great job relieving Lewis in the 5th and he shut the Gems down in the 6th and 7th. Little rolled the dice and sent him back out for the 8th and the move backfired. A leadoff walk and a doubled off the right centerfield wall and a fielders choice and all of a sudden the Gems had a 9-7 lead.

Like the game Thursday in Danville, The Gems brought in two of their best arms and they shut down the Catfish in the 8th and 9th.

The loss dropped the Catfish to 34-17 on the season. They are now 1 1/2 games behind Chillicothe for the Prospect Leagues best record. The Gems win took them to 14-9 in the 2nd half, a game ahead of Burlington who is 13-9.

The good news about the Prospect League is you don’t have long to think about yesterday. The Catfish are back in action tonight against a Rockabillies team who is reeling and has lost a lot of players. A war of attrition. That’s what this summer is about. An incredible start, and average middle but the real question will be, how do the Catfish finish?

Come on out and see tonight at 6:35. Only three home games left before the playoffs start August 6th.

As always, tickets are available at Playoff tickets are on sale as well right now.