Catfish Lead Early But Hoots Come From Behind For Win

O’Fallon, Mo., June 22 – The O’Fallon Hoots came into Wednesday night’s game against the Cape Catfish riding a seven-game winning streak. The Catfish, on the other hand, were winless in their previous five games.

Early on, it looked like both streaks would come to an end as the ‘Fish led 3-0 midway through the second inning and 4-1 heading into the bottom of the third.

But from that point on, it was all Hoots, who scored at least one run in every inning for the rest of the game.

O’Fallon plated two in the third on single to left by Noah Fisher (Northern Kentucky University) and a home run by Alex Adams (Missouri Baptist University), his second of the season. They scored an unearned run to tie the game 4-4 in the fourth, took a one-run lead in the fifth on an RBI single by Colin Bergmann (Saint Louis University), scored another run in the sixth on a two-out single by Fisher, and then sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh, scoring eight runs to end the game on a 10-run mercy rule, 14-4.

The Hoots’ seventh-inning scoring barrage included another home run by Adams, an RBI triple by Fisher, an RBI double by Kaden Byrne (Drury University), an RBI double by Ole Arntson (SIU-Edwardsville), and a two-run shot over the right center field wall by Patrick Clohisy (Purdue) that ended the game.

O’Fallon pounded out 17 hits over seven innings, while Cape was held to just seven, but one of them was a solo home run by J.D. Ortiz (SIU-Carbondale) to lead off the second inning. It was his team-leading fifth long ball of the season and his 19th run batted in, which also leads the team after 20 games.

Catfish field manager Stephen Larkin said O’Fallon benefitted from timely and well-placed hits. “They hit the ball in gaps with runners on base and scored ’em,” he said.

The losing pitcher was Cape starter Hunter Ralls (Southeast Missouri State) who pitched five innings, giving up seven hits and five runs, four of them earned, while striking out five and walking one. The loss evened his record at 1-1. O’Fallon reliever Logan Mantz (University of Missouri-St. Louis) was credited with the win and is now 1-1 after pitching 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball during which he struck out six Catfish. Anthony Klein (Southeast Missouri State), picked up his first save of the season for the Hoots.

The Catfish are now 7-13 and have suffered six straight losses and are in last place in the Prospect League’s Prairie Land Division. Meanwhile, the Hoots have now won eight straight and boast a record of 13-8, putting them a half-game ahead of the Alton River Dragons for first place in the division.

The Catfish will try to end their losing streak Thursday when they return to Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau to face the Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp. Game time is 6:35 p.m.