Catfish Stay Undefeated With 3-1 Win Over Thrillbillies
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (June 12) – The calendar says the Fourth of July is still three weeks away, but fireworks came early at Capaha Park Monday night when the Cape Catfish scored three times in the eighth inning to come from behind and defeat the Thrillville Thrillbillies 3-1.
The win extended Cape’s season-opening winning streak to 11 and remain the only undefeated team in the 17-team Prospect League. Meanwhile, the Thrillbillies from Marion, Illinois, fell to 6-6.
It was the third win for the Catfish over the Thrillbillies with a 12-1 victory on June 4 and an 11-1 win a week later.
Both starting pitchers Monday night – Breven Yarbro for Cape and Marion’s Ryan Daly – were outstanding with Yarbro allowing just one run and two hits while striking out seven in four innings while Daly allowed no Catfish runs and recorded seven strikeouts in his five innings on the mound.
The Thrillbillies scored their run in the third inning when their left fielder, Bryce Toci from the University of South Carolina, walked and advanced to third when a pickoff attempt from Yarbro got past Catfish first baseman Lane Crowden (University of Southern Indiana). Toci then scored on a single by shortstop Kaleb Herbert (Toledo University).
It appeared the Catfish and their league-leading offense might be shut out as Daly and relief pitcher Nathan Ball (Indiana University) combined for 11 strikeouts while allowing just four Catfish hits through seven innings.
And then came the eighth inning. Marion closer Roman Harrison (Quincy University) walked the first batter he saw, center fielder Cole Yearsley and then the next batter, designated hitter Chris Hall, reached on an error, putting runners on first and second with no one out.
The third batter of the inning, right fielder Jeff Clarke, attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but on the first pitch the ball either hit him or his bat and went foul which ignited an argument involving several players and coaches. Ultimately it was determined the ball was bunted foul and Clarke remained at the plate.
With Clarke still at the plate, Yearsley and Hall pulled off a double steal putting them on second and third with no one out.
On a subsequent pitch there was a dispute over whether Clarke offered at the pitch or pulled his bat back. Had he offered, it would have been a strike, but it was ruled that he pulled his bat back in time so the call was a ball.
That started a heated argument during which Thrillville manager Ralph Santana was ejected by umpiring crew Rick Heuring and Aaron Ashlock. Thrillville pitching coach Lane Dickerson was ejected a few minutes later.
The game eventually resumed with Clarke still at bat and runners on second and third. With the count full, Clarke slapped a sharp grounder down the third base line for a triple, scoring both Yearsley and Hall.
“I was waiting for that one mistake pitch and I hit it,” Clarke said afterward. “The second I hit it I knew it was good.”
Clarke scored two batters later when Catfish left fielder Brody Chrisman (Purdue) singled to add to his league-leading RBI total (26).
Relief pitcher Kole Turner (Three Rivers) was the pitcher of record for the Catfish, pitching a perfect eighth inning. Jordan Riley (University of Nevada) came on in the ninth to earn the save.
The linescore was as follows: The Catfish had three runs on six hits while the Thrillbillies scored one run on three hits. Both teams had two errors.
The Catfish are back in action Tuesday night at Capaha Field in a 6:35 p.m. game against the Jackson (Tennessee) Rockabillys. Tickets are available through the Catfish website, www.capecatfish.com.