Catfish Rally But Fall Short

Alton, Ill., June 5 – After giving up nine unanswered runs in the first three innings of their game Sunday night against the Alton River Dragons, the Cape Catfish clawed their way back with eight runs of their own, but eventually fell short, losing 9-8 at Lloyd Hopkins Field in Alton.

The game ended with back-to-back strikeouts of  Dalton Rudd and J.D. Ortiz with the potential tying run 90 feet away on third base.

The Catfish, 2-3, are still looking for their first road win while the River Dragons remained undefeated at 5-0.

Starting Cape pitcher Chad Donzie took the loss, giving up six hits and eight runs, seven of them earned, while walking four and striking out no one in 2 1/3 innings.

The Dragons opened the scoring in the bottom of the first on back-to-back RBI doubles by shortstop Kurtis Reid and first baseman Marcus Heushon followed by an RBI triple off the bat of designated hitter Noah Bush who eventually earned the save, pitching the final 1 1/3 innings.

Alton went on to plate an unearned run in the second and five runs in the third with the big blow coming on a bases-loaded double by third baseman Robby Raul that scored three.

The Catfish didn’t score their first runs until the fifth inning when Dante Zamudio smashed a three-run homer, scoring Ortiz and Lane Crowden ahead of him. Cape added a fourth run in the fifth frame thanks to a Kolton Poorman double that drove in Cam Careswell.

Cam Hill scored for Cape on an eighth-inning ground out by fellow outfielder Dalton Rudd which was followed later in the inning by a wild pitch which scored Gavin Jansen, pulling Cape to within three runs heading into the ninth inning.

In the top of the ninth, Cape catcher Andrew Sharp reached on a throwing error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Hill struck out swinging for the first out, but Jansen doubled scoring Sharp, pulling the Catfish to within two of the Dragons. Crowden, the next batter, then tripled to drive Jansen home but he was stranded as Rudd and Ortiz struck out swinging for the game’s final outs.

It was a frustrating loss for the Catfish. “We got behind too big early,” said Catfish head coach Stephen Larkin. “We had to chip away and fight back,” he said, but in the end Cape’s effort fell one run short.

Cape outhit Alton 13 to 10. Dragon pitchers struck out 11 Catfish while Cape pitchers recorded just three K’s.The Catfish will search for their first road win Monday in Springfield, Illinois, against the Lucky Horseshoes. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.