Hoots Score Winning Run in Final At Bat to Defeat Catfish
O’Fallon, MO Aug. 2 – In a game that included 20 hits, four homers, 11 pitchers, 15 walks and runs in every inning, the O’Fallon Hoots scored the winning run in their final at bat to defeat the Cape Catfish 9-8 Tueday night at CarShield Field in O’Fallon.
The loss ended Cape’s four-game winning streak and dropped the team’s record to 12-12 in the second half of the Prospect League season, still good enough for first place in the league’s Prairie Land Division. Meanwhile, the Hoots improved their second-half record to 9-14.
The Hoots picked up three runs in the first two innings of Tuesday night’s game. The first run came in the first on a sacrifice fly by Hoots third baseman Logan Mantz (UMSL) off Catfish starter Devyn Terbrak (Western Kentucky) that drove in left fielder Connor Milton (University of Illinois) who had singled to lead off the inning.
O’Fallon’s next two runs came in the second on a one-out single by catcher Gavin Bennett (University of Illinois) that drove in shortstop Jack Dunn (Mineral Area Community College) and second baseman Tyson Ludwig (Bryant & Stratton College), both of whom had singled to reach base.
The Catfish scored their first run in the top of the third when left fielder Josh Cameron (Southeast Missouri State) singled, eventually reached third base, and crossed the plate when center fielder Christopher Hall (Florida State College at Jacksonville) stole second after receiving a walk from O’Fallon starter Ben Plumley (University of Illinois).
But O’Fallon regained its three-run lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a solo home run off Catfish reliever Jordan Zuger (Belmont) by first baseman Ole Arntson (SIU-Edwardsville), his third of the season.
The Catfish answered Arntson’s long ball with one of their own in the top of the fourth by second baseman Danny Sperling (Southeast Missouri), his third of the season and 17th run batted in, to cut the O’Fallon head in half, 4-2.
Cape scored twice in the fifth to tie the game 4-4 thanks to a leadoff double by Cameron, a walk to right fielder Dalton Rudd (Western Kentucky), an RBI single by shortstop John Bolton (Arkansas) that scored Cameron, and a ground out by Hall that brought Rudd home. Both runs were charged to Plumley who was replaced in the inning by left-handed reliever Trent Anderson (UMSL).
O’Fallon broke the tie in the sixth when center fielder Patrick Clohisy (Purdue) singled off the right field wall to drive in designated hitter Jacob Hager (Arkansas State) who singled two batters earlier off Catfish reliever Mark Eddie (Buena Vista University). The Hoots would have scored another run in the sixth were it not for an outfield assist by left fielder Cameron who threw a strike to catcher Blake Barton (Belmont) who tagged Milton who as he attempted to score from second on Hager’s single earlier in the inning.
The Hoots added two runs in the seventh, both charged to right-handed reliever Ray Schroeder from the University of Missouri. The runs came on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Milton, his third hit of the game.
But Cape answered with four runs in the eighth, taking an 8-7 lead, thanks to a three-run homer by Barton, his second long ball of the season, and a solo shot two batters later by third baseman Kolten Poorman (Three Rivers Community College), his fourth of the summer. The home runs brought Barton’s and Poorman’s RBI totals to 16 and 21, respectively.
The Catfish lead was short-lived. In the bottom of the eighth, the Catfish replaced Schroeder with Braden Polzien, a sophomore from Buena Vista University with a record of 1-3 making his 15th appearance of the season. After walking the three batters he faced to load the bases with no outs, Polzien was replaced on the mound by lefty Colin Bryant (West Virginia State). With the sacks full of Hoots, O’Fallon right fielder Blane Besse (Missouri Baptist University) sent a fly ball to center that was caught by Hall. All three runners tagged up with the runner on third scoring, but the runner advancing from first was thrown out at second.
Bryant induced the next batter to ground out, ending the inning with the score knotted 8-8 heading into the ninth.
Ryker Walton, a freshman pitcher from Potosi, Missouri, attending Mineral Area College, made his pitching debut for the Hoots in the ninth inning, retiring the Catfish in order.
Another Hoot making his debut Tuesday night, Jeremy Sheffield (Georgetown University) led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk issued by Bryant. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bennett. Milton, the next batter, was intentionally walked to set up possible double play. After walking Hager to load the bases, Sheffield attempted to score on a wild pitch, but Barton pounced on the ball and got it to Bryant in time to tag out the runner at the plate.
But with two outs and runners on second and third, Mantz was hit by a pitch to reload the bases and Clohisy walked on a 3-2 count to walk in the winning run.
Walton, who pitched the ninth for O’Fallon, got the win in his first mound appearance of the season. Bryant was the losing pitcher, allowing one run on no hits while walking four in 1 2/3 innings.
The Catfish have an off day Wednesday before returning to Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau Thursday to face the Hoots in a doubleheader. The two teams will face each other again on Friday and Saturday nights, in O’Fallon and Cape, respectively, to end the regular season schedule.