Thrillbillies Use Big Innings to Finally Defeat Catfish
MARION, IL (June 28) – In their first five meetings this season, the Cape Catfish owned a 5-0 record over the Thrillville Thrillbillies. But Cape’s undefeated record over Thrillville came to an end Wednesday night as the team from Southern Illinois put together a couple of big innings to defeat the Catfish 9-5.
The loss extended Cape’s current (and only) losing streak to four. However, the Fish still have a commanding 19-6 record which is tops in the 17-team Prospect League. Meanwhile, the Thrillbillies improved their record to 12-11, good for a second-place tie with the O’Fallon Hoots in the league’s Prairie Land Division behind the first-place Catfish.
With their nine runs Wednesday night, the Thrillbillies narrowed their run deficit against the Catfish this season to 50-17 in Cape’s favor.
The Catfish spotted the Thrillbillies four runs in the 1st inning Wednesday night thanks to a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by second baseman Cole Smith from the University of Tennessee-Martin, a two-RBI triple into the right field corner by right fielder Jackson McCoy (John A. Logan College) followed immediately by a single to left by Bradley University’s Michael Mylott that drove McCoy home.
Cape got a run back in the top of the second when first baseman Dee Triplett from Cumberland University smacked a two-out double down the right field line and shortstop Jude Putz from Florida State University at Tallahassee singled him home.
The Thrillbillies regained their four-run lead in their half of the 2nd on third baseman Bryson Arnette’s leadoff home run that hit the left field foul pole. It was the Western Kentucky junior’s first home run of the summer.
Thrillville might have scored more runs in the 2nd had it not been for a diving catch on the warning track by center fielder Chris Hall from Lincoln Memorial University. After walking one more batter, Catfish starting pitcher Bryce Morgan from Mineral Area College was replaced by left-handed reliever Kam Dohogne from Oran, Missouri, who is now a sophomore at Columbia College.
The Marion team made it 6-1 in the bottom of the 3rd when, with a runner on third and two outs, Arnette singled into left past a diving Jude Putz at shortstop.
Once again, Cape got a run back in the top of the next inning when Triplett hit a one-out solo home run over the wall in right center field. It was Triplett’s first homer of the year and cut Marion’s lead to 6-2.
The Catfish pulled to within three in the top of the 5th when former Jackson Indian and current Southern Indiana infielder Lane Crowden hit a two-out triple over the head of Thrillville center fielder Dylan Drunke allowing Hall, who had singled and stolen second earlier in the frame, to cross the plate.
But the Thrillbillies pulled away in the bottom half of the 5th, scoring on a leadoff home run by McCoy (his third of the season), back-to-back doubles by Mylott and catcher Virgil Smith from Bellarmine University, and an RBI single off the bat of left fielder Bryce Toci from the University of South Carolina at Aiken.
Cape picked up a pair of runs in the 7th on Crowden’s second double of the night, driving in designated hitter Quinton Borders (Crowder College) and second baseman Kevin McCarthy (Tennessee Southern) both of whom had walked before Crowden came to the plate. Crowden would have scored a few minutes later had it not been for a shoestring catch to his right by Thrillville center fielder Drunke on a line drive hit by Catfish right fielder Brody Chrisman (Purdue).
Neither the Catfish nor the Thrillbillies scored again for the remainder of the game, although both teams had numerous opportunities. In fact, the only inning either team failed to have a runner on base was the top of the 1st when the Catfish went down in order.
McCoy finished the game 3-for-4 for the Thrillbillies with a double, a triple, and a home run, lacking only a single for the cycle. Triplett went 3-for-3 for the Catfish with a single, a double and a home run and Crowden contributed a double and a triple, netting him three RBI.
Catfish starter Bryce Morgan from Mineral Area College, making his fourth start of the season, took the loss and is now 0-1. He went 1 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits while walking two and striking out one. Although he only pitched four innings, Marion starter Scott Wood (Concordia University Irvine) was credited with the win to improve his record to 2-1. He allowed two runs on four Catfish hits while striking out five and walking one Cape batter.
Austin Gast from Cape Girardeau pitched 1 2/3 innings for the Thrillbillies in relief, allowing two runs on one hit while striking out three and walking three. He is a sophomore at Three Rivers Community College.
The Catfish finished the game with eight hits and two errors while the Thrillbillies had 14 hits and committed no fielding miscues.
The Fish and Billies will meet two more times this week – Thursday night at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau and Friday night in Marion. Tickets for Thursday night’s game in Cape can be purchased online through the Catfish website, www.capecatfish.com.