Pitcher’s Injury Casts Shadow on Catfish Win

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (July 5) – It’s just a game.
Sometimes players, coaches and fans need to remind themselves that it’s just a game.

With two outs in the bottom of the 9th, with the score tied 7-7 Wednesday night at Capaha Field, Catfish shortstop Justin Carinci stood in the batters box waiting for an 0-1 pitch from Jackson (Tennessee) Rockabilly reliever Colton Brumley. Creek Robertson, who had just entered the game as a pinch runner, was on second base, representing the winning run. Catfish center fielder Chris Hall, on base via an intentional walk, took a lead from first.

Brumley needed to retire Carinci to send the game into extra innings so he must have put a little extra into his next pitch. But instead of firing it to his catcher, Brumley’s pitch sailed out of his hand toward the Rockabilly dugout along the third base line. Players on both teams said they heard something “snap.”

Brumley fell to the ground between the pitching mound and third base line. He was in obvious pain. Hall and Robertson advanced on the wild pitch to second and third, respectively. And Brumley had suffered what appeared to be a serious arm injury. Coaches and trainers responded immediately and both teams huddled in a group prayer on the infield.

Brumley was assisted off the field and taken for to Southeast Hospital across the street from Capaha Park for further examination and treatment. (For an update on Brumley’s condition, see the Game Note at the bottom of this story.)

For a few minutes, it was unclear whether the game would continue, but after conferring with the players, the Rockabillys elected to finish the game, replacing Brumley with their right fielder, Dalton Rudd.

Rudd, who played for the Catfish in 2022, threw two pitches to Carinci. The first was a strike, making the count one ball and two strikes. Knowing he had to guard the plate, Carinci was ready to swing if the next pitch was anywhere close to the plate. And it was. And Carinci swung, singling to left and bringing Robertson home with the winning run.

Rather than congratulating each other on their win, Catfish players embraced Rockabilly players and coaches on the field. They knew it was more than “just a game.”

Cape’s 8-7 victory over the Rockabillys ended the team’s two-game losing skid and brought their record to 23-8, best in the 17-team Prospect League. The Catfish are also 1-2 in the second half of the league’s season after finishing the first half in first place in the league’s Prairie Land Division, qualifying them for post-season play next month.

The loss dropped the Rockabilly’s record to 12-19 overall, 1-1 in the season’s second half. The Catfish and Rockabillys will face each other again Thursday on the Rockabillys’ home field in Tennessee.

Cape broke into the scoring column first Wednesday night with back-to-back singles in the 2nd inning by catcher Landon Godsey (Belmont) and first baseman Dee Triplett (Cumberland University) followed by a 2-RBI double down the left field line by second baseman Kevin McCarthy (Tennessee Southern). McCarthy crossed the plate when the next batter, designated hitter Kolten Poorman (Eastern Illinois) singled up the middle, giving the Fish a three-run lead.

The Rockabillys answered with a run in the 4th on a two out RBI single to center by Jackson catcher Braden Vinyard and in the 5th they scored four more times including two runs on a double into the right field corner by first baseman Mason Krznarich who was thrown out at third trying to stretch his double into a triple.

Cape scored three times to retake the lead in the 6th frame thanks to an RBI double off the top of the left field wall by Jeff Clarke (Belmont) that drove in Chris Hall (Lincoln Memorial University) and a pair of bases-loaded hit batters.

Cape’s 6-5 lead was short-lived because with two outs in the top of the 7th, Rockabilly third baseman Jake McCutchen walked and advanced to second when the next batter, left fielder Cole McCallum, singled to right. McCutchen scored to tie the game when pinch hitter Wesley Mann delivered a ground rule double that one-hopped the wall in center field. The Rockabillys took a 7-6 lead when the next batter, Vinyard, singled to left to drive in McCallum. Mann also tried to score from second, but was thrown out at the plate on an outfield assist by left fielder Brody Chrisman from Purdue.

Cape tied the game again in the bottom of the 8th when Godsey blasted his third home run of the season, a two-out solo shot over the left field wall just below the Capaha Field scoreboard.

Catfish reliever Jordan Riley from the University of Nevada at Reno entered the game in the 8th and, after giving up a single to Rockabilly second baseman Tyler Macon, retired the next six batters he faced in order on three strikeouts and three fly outs.

The Catfish subsequently won the game in the bottom of the 9th as described at the beginning of this recap. It was the sixth time this season the Fish have come from behind in the 7th inning or later to win a ballgame.

The Catfish box score was p eight runs on 10 hits and no errors while the Rockabillys had seven runs on 13 hits and made two errors.

Brumley, who entered the game with a 0.00 earned run average, was the losing pitcher, allowing two runs and two hits while walking two and striking out five Catfish before his injury. His record is now 0-1. Riley, who pitched the final two innings for the Catfish, earned the win, giving him a 1-0 record.

The Catfish return to Capaha Field Friday to take on the Hoots from O’Fallon, Missouri. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online through the Catfish website, www.capecatfish.com.

GAME NOTE: Colton Brumley, the Rockabilly relief pitcher who was injured in the bottom of the 9th inning, was taken to Southeast Hospital where, according to his family, x-rays revealed a “comminuted humeral shaft fracture” of his right arm. In layman’s terms, he had multiple breaks in the bone between his shoulder and elbow.

He was sedated while the bone was realigned and placed in a cast. His father drove to Cape from the family home in Bartlett, Tennessee (a suburb of Memphis), and took Colton home overnight. On Thursday morning he was seen by an orthopedic surgeon in Memphis and a decision was made not to operate but rather to allow the realigned bone to heal in the coming weeks and months.

Brumley, 22, was making his second appearance for the Rockabillys Wednesday night after recording his first save of the season Tuesday night in the team’s 11-8 win over the Catfish in Jackson, Tennessee. He was coming off of a strong spring season with the Southwest Tennessee Community College Saluquis where he started 15 games, completed eight of them, and compiled a 13-2 record while amassing 125 strikeouts over 91.2 innings.