Henley, 'Fish mates get aggressive early at the plate in home W

Cape Catfish player Henley Parker sprints toward first base after connecting with a pitch in a recent game against Burlington at Capaha Field.
Tony Capobianco ~

The Cape Catfish have not struggled through this Prospect League season to score runs – at times. In four of their past six games, Cape has scored a combined 38 runs, with shutout losses coming in the other two outings, which leads to some maddening consistency in production.

“If you take too many strikes early in the count,” first-year Catfish assistant coach Nolan Davenport said following a shutout loss to the Full Count Rhythm on Friday at Capaha Field, “that puts us in a hole, (and) then we get in protect mode and we end up swinging at stuff out of the zone or just really good and nasty breaking stuff.”

That wasn’t an issue on Saturday, as the Catfish (13-15) closed out the first half of the season with an 8-3 win over Burlington (5-23) at Capaha Field.

One night after managing just failing to produce any runs on five hits, mainly due to striking out 11 times, Cape converted eight hits into as many runs and lowered its punchout total to eight in the game.

“We’ve got to compete (at the plate),” Davenport said.

The Catfish got four hits in the first inning, including singles from former Jackson High standouts Henley Parker and Lane Crowden, as well as a double from JJ Williams and a single from Easton Moore, as they took a quick 2-0 lead.

Burlington fought back with a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings, but Cape added a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to hold a 5-2 margin before adding another run in the seventh and two more in the eighth.

Parker had two hits, scored twice, drove in a pair of runs, and walked once to pace his team while Williams also added two hits, one run, and an RBI.

Crowden also had a couple of connections to go with three RBI and a walk, but more importantly, despite leading their team in strikeouts this season, neither Crowden nor Henley had a strikeout on Saturday.

“I’m definitely not as aggressive as I’d like to be,” Crowden said of getting on top of early strikes. “Coming off a spring season (at the University of Southern Indiana), where I didn’t play to my full potential, I’m still trying to work out some kinks and some things that I was doing wrong.”

In fairness, Crowden leads the Catfish in hits, runs scored, RBI, walks, and stolen bases, so he has had a pretty good bounce-back summer season.

Former Jackson High player Steven Schneider added a run and a walk in the win while Southeast Missouri State player Gunnar Doyle (two runs, two RBI, one walk), Moore (one hit, one walk), former Cooter High player Hayden Nazerenus (one run, two walks), Ben Barrow (one run, one RBI), and Wes Gingerich (one hit, one walk) also were productive at the plate.

Williams and Crowden each had doubles while Williams, Schneider, and Gingerich added a stolen base.

On the mound, Cape starter Blake Kincaid was very strong, as he threw four innings and allowed four hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out two to earn the victory.

Catfish relievers Jordan Riley and Arlon Butts pitched a combined three innings and did not allow a hit to close the game.

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