Catfish Hold On For 10-8 Win, Move Into First Place

Cape Girardeau, MO July 31 – The Catfish wasted no time getting on the scoreboard Sunday, scoring four runs and hitting for the cycle – a single, a double, a triple and a home run – in the bottom of the first against the Quincy Gems.

And it turned out they needed all those runs – and then some – to defeat the Gems 10-8 at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau. In doing so, the Catfish climbed into first place in the second half of their Prospect League’s division standings, a half-game ahead of the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes who lost Sunday.

The Catfish will host the Horseshoes in a 6:35 p.m. game Monday.

“We just have to take care of our business and we’ll stay in first place,” said Catfish field manager Stephen Larkin following Sunday’s win, shortly after learning his team was in first place with an 11-11 second half record (23-30 overall).

In the first inning of Sunday’s game, Catfish leadoff batter Christopher Hall (Florida State College at Jacksonville) was hit in the helmet by the first pitch of the game from Gems starter Peyton Clampitt (John Wood Community College). Hall picked up his 33rd stolen base of the season and scored when second baseman John Bolton (Arkansas) tripled over the head of Gems center fielder Jaison Andujar (Monroe College). Bolton scored a few pitches later when catcher Blake Barton (Belmont University) singled to right.

The next Catfish Batter, right fielder Danny Sperling from Southeast Missouri State, sent a Clampitt fastball over the wall in right center field to make the score 4-0. Sperling’s home run was his second of the season, his first coming July 20 in Quincy against Clampitt. (Of the four home runs Clampitt surrendered in his first 7 1/3 innings this season, three have been to Cape batters – two hit by Sperling and one by Western Kentucky University’s Dalton Rudd.)

Quincy picked up a run in the third inning when shortstop Hayden Moore (Missouri State) tripled just beyond Sperling’s reach in right and scored when the next batter, second baseman Dayson Croes from Quincy University, grounded out.

The Catfish answered with three runs in the bottom of the third when, with one out, Sperling was hit by a pitch and scored when third baseman Kolton Poorman (Three Rivers Community College) doubled to left. The next batter, designated hitter Andrew Sharp (West Virginia State), singled to center and advanced to second on an error by Andujar in center field that also allowed Poorman to reach third. Both Cape runners scored when shortstop Lane Crowden (Three Rivers) singled to right, giving the Catfish a 7-1 lead after three innings.

Cape made the score 8-1 in the fifth frame when Sperling was again hit by a pitch, reached second when Quincy’s left and center fielders collided attempting to catch a fly ball hit by Poorman and scored two batters later on an infield ground out.

Quincy scored twice in the top of the seventh on back-to-back doubles by designated hitter Luke Napleton (Quincy University) and first baseman Jayden Shafer (Murray State Community College in Oklahoma), the second of which drove Napleton home, and an RBI single by Andujar that scored Shafer.

But the Catfish answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh. Sperling led off by reaching base for the fourth time – this time walking. He scored for the fourth time two batters later when Sharp hit his second double of the game. Sharp crossed the plate with two outs when Crowden grounded to Gems third baseman Logan Voth (Quincy University) and Voth’s throw to first squirted past Shafer and into foul territory along the right field line.

Quincy scored twice in the eighth inning, making the score 10-5 and added three more tallies in the top of the ninth when Moore knocked a three-run homer over the right field fence, cutting Cape’s lead to just two runs, 10-8. But the next two batters, Croes and left fielder Drew Townsend (Missouri State), flied out to left and grounded out, respectively, to end the game.

Catfish starter Marshall Brown (Lindenwood University) got the win, allowing three runs and seven hits over seven innings while striking out six and walking no one, improving his record to 4-3. Clampitt took the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits while walking two and striking out two over three innings. Catfish reliever Stephen Pursely from Drury University recorded the final two outs for the save, his second of the season.