Unbeaten Catfish Walk Their Way to 12th Straight Win

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (June 13) – The undefeated Cape Catfish wasted no time taking the lead Tuesday night against the Rockabillys from Jackson, Tennessee, scoring four runs in the first inning without the benefit of a hit on their way to a 7-3 final and their 12th straight win.

With a record of 12-0, the Catfish have a commanding six-game lead over the 6-6 Thrillville Thrillbillies from Marion, Illinois, in the Prairie Land Division of the 17-team Prospect League.

Rockabilly starter Riley Mertl lasted just a third of an inning Tuesday night and was charged with the loss. He allowed all six batters he faced to reach base on five walks and a hit batter forcing two runs to the plate (a third run would have scored but leadoff batter Chris Hall, who drew the first walk, was caught stealing). Relief pitcher Josh Furtado walked two more batters forcing in another pair of runs to give Cape a four-run lead without putting the ball in play.

The Rockabillys put a run on the scoreboard in the second when their left fielder, Nicho Jordan, blasted a solo home run over the SoutheastHEALTH Home Run deck beyond the right field wall.

Cape answered in the bottom of the second, manufacturing when shortstop Justin Carinci reached base on an error, stole second, advanced to third on Cape’s first hit of the game, a single by left fielder Brody Chrisman, and then tagged up and scored when third baseman Kolten Poorman hit a fly ball to right.

The Catfish pushed their sixth run across the plate in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Jeff Clarke, making the score 6-1 after three innings.

Rockabilly designated hitter Jake McCutcheon hit a two-out double that scored a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to pull his team to within three runs of the Fish, but Cape added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Hall was hit by a pitch, took second base on a passed ball, stole third and scored when Carinci hit a two-out infield single. That run gave the Catfish a four-run lead, 7-3, which was the final.

Cape was outhit by the Rockabillys, 11-5, and all of Cape’s hits were singles, but solid defense and clutch pitching helped the Catfish preserve the win. Catfish second baseman Jude Putz saved at least one run in the fourth inning when, with two on and two outs, he had a diving catch of a ground ball destined for right field and instead converted a 4-3 putout. Then in the sixth inning, Catfish reliever Dante Zamudio entered the game with one out and runners on base and was able to induce fly balls to left and center with the bases jammed to keep any runners from scoring.

Catfish starting pitcher Curry Sutherland went two innings, allowing three hits, including Jordan’s home run. Marshal Brown pitched three-and-a-third innings in relief, giving up two runs while striking out two and walking three Rockabillys, but he qualified for the win. Reliever Cameron Lewis pitched the final two innings for the Fish, allowing two hits while walking two and striking out three, including the last batter of the game with two runners on base to preserve the win.

The Catfish are back in action at Capaha Field Wednesday, taking on the O’Fallon Hoots in a 2:05 p.m. game which will include special salutes to veterans as part of the team’s Flag Day observance. Gates will open an hour before the game with the first 300 general admission fans admitted free and the first 400 receiving American flags, thanks to MedStop One and VFW Post 3838. Otherwise, tickets are available on the Catfish website, www.capecatfish.com.