Lucky Horseshoes Ignore Stats, Defeat Catfish 7-4
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (July 9) – The Lucky Horseshoes from Springfield, Illinois, came into Sunday afternoon’s game against the Cape Catfish with the lowest team batting average in the Prospect League and a sub-.500 record. The Catfish, on the other hand, had the league’s best winning percentage and second-best team batting average at .303.
The Catfish are at or near the top of many league offensive and pitching statistics while the Horseshoes rank near the middle of the pack in the 17-team league.
On paper, the Catfish should have won Sunday’s game at Capaha Field.
But they don’t play games on paper and Springfield was able to take advantage of timely hits, walks and some Catfish errors to win 7-4. The win evened Springfield’s overall record at 16-16 while the Catfish fell to 25-9. Their win also gave the Horseshoes a 5-0 record in the league’s second half which began last Monday. Their second-half record is good for first place in the Prospect League’s Wabash River Division.
Cape’s second-half record is 3-3, putting them in second place behind the Thrillville Thrillbillies in the league’s Prairie Land Division. However, the Fish finished the first half of the season with a 22-6 record, good enough to qualify for post-season play starting August 6.
Cape took an early lead Sunday night when designated hitter Jude Putz from Florida State led off the bottom of the 3rd with a single to right center and shortstop Jacob Danneman out of Hanover College hit a bloop double down the right field line. That put Catfish runners on second and third. The next batter, Catfish second baseman Scott Schuler, who was added to the roster earlier in the day, grounded out to second but his ground ball allowed Putz to score.
Catfish lefty Noah Gadberry, making his second start of the season, took a no-hitter into the 5th inning, striking out six Springfield batters in the process. But he started the 5th by giving up a single to Horseshoes shortstop Nick Terrell (SIU-Edwardsville). Gadberry faced six more batters in the 5th, allowing one more hit and walking two. A fielding error put another Horseshoe on base as did a fielder’s choice. When the dust had settled, Springfield had scored four times on just two hits and, in the process, knocked Gadberry out of the game.
With one out in the bottom of the 6th, Catfish center fielder Chris Hall from Lincoln Memorial University reached first on a ground ball between the legs of Springfield first baseman Ty Rhoades into right field. He scored moments later when Cape left fielder Justin Carnici (Eastern Kentucky) doubled into the left field corner. The next batter, Purdue’s Brody Chrisman singled in front of Horseshoe left fielder Kristain Sprawling. The ball bounced over Sprawling’s head allowing Carinci to score and sending Chrisman all the way to third.
Chrisman then scored on a single to left by Catfish catcher Landon Godsey (Belmont) to tie the game 4-4.
The game wasn’t tied long, though, for in the top of the 7th the Horseshoes loaded the bases on walks issued by reliever Breven Yarbro who also hit a batter to push a runner across the plate. With the bases still loaded, Yarbro was replaced on the mound by Cameron Lewis from West Virginia State whose first pitch to Sprawling, the next Horseshoe batter, was driven up the middle for a 2-RBI single.
Eastern Illinois’ Kolten Poorman, who normally plays an infield position for the Catfish, was brought into the game to pitch the 8th and 9th innings. He was able to get out of a two-on, no-out jam in the 8th with no runs scored and also retired the Horseshoes in order in the 9th. This was Poorman’s second mound appearance this season and in his 3.1 innings he has an earned run average of 0.00.
The Horseshoes took their 7-4 lead into the bottom of the 9th in which Fish third baseman Curry Sutherland from Missouri State led off with a solid single up the middle. But then Putz fouled out, Dannaman hit a long fly out to center and Sutherland, who was running on Dannaman’s deep fly, was doubled off of first to end the game.
Springfield starting pitcher Jaylen Morgan from Lincoln Memorial University, making his fourth start of the summer, got the win. He went 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and three Catfish runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out one batter. His record is now 1-1. Trent Koehler from Lincoln Land Community College pitched the 9th to pick up his second save of the season.
Yarbro (1-2) was the losing pitcher for the Catfish, allowing three runs on no hits while walking three and striking out three.
The Catfish outhit the Horseshoes seven to three, but also committed four errors, at least two of which extended innings and contributed to Springfield runs.
Cape’s next home game is Monday at Capaha Field against the Hoots from O’Fallon, Missouri. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Monday night’s game is the team’s second “573 Night” of the season with all tickets priced at $5.73 using the code “573night” when purchased through the Catfish website, www.capecatfish.com.
Mario will be there mixing his famous Margaritas and Wat’s Knots pretzels will be on hand as well.
GAME NOTE: Catfish starting second baseman Scott Schuler from Northern Oklahoma and starting first baseman Kevin Balfe from Draper, Utah, were both added to the roster prior to Sunday afternoon’s game and given one-day contracts. Catfish president Glenn Campbell explained they had made a charitable contribution through the Catfish in exchange for being allowed to play a few innings in the game against Springfield.
Schuler went 0-2 but picked up an RBI on a ground out to second in the 3rd inning before being replaced in the 5th inning by Creek Robertson. Balfe was 0-3 at the plate, but he connected on a solid fly ball to center field to lead off the 6th inning before the Catfish began their three-run rally. Dee Triplett from Cumberland University replaced Balfe at first base starting in the 7th inning.
For a full explanation of how Shuler and Balfe became part of the Catfish roster Sunday, read Tom Davis’ sports feature on semoball.com that can be found online at: https://www.semoball.com/story/3002112.html