CAPE GIRARDEAU -- With left-to-right gusts up to 35 mph, it was easy to predict that the wind was going to play havoc with the fielders.
And, so it did, particularly for the New Madrid County Central Eagles in a 11-1 run-rule loss to Cape Central at Tiger Field on Tuesday.
Said NMCC coach John Jones, "The wind was monstrous out here. You can't practice this. My hat's off to Cape. They had to play out there in the same wind, the same conditions."
After a scoreless NMCC first inning, the second Tiger to the plate, second baseman Ty Craft, lofted a long fly ball to left field that eluded the Eagle outfielders for a wind-blown triple. A throwing error allowed Craft to score and opened the floodgates to a six-run inning for the Tigers.
"We kind of stubbed our toe that first inning," said Jones. "After that it was a good ballgame. It could have easily been a 2-1 game going into the fifth inning, but it didn't work out for us today."
In the Eagle second, cleanup hitter Ben Pyles lifted a wind-aided flyball to right field that easily cleared the fence to pull the Eagles to within 6-1.
"Ben (Pyles) got a big hit that I thought would give us a spark," said Jones, of his team's only hit, "but our bats didn't help us at all."
Pyles, the Eagle first baseman, leads the team with a .444 average. It was the first homer of the season for last year's team leader with seven.
Cape Central (4-8-1) added two more in the second to increase its lead to 8-1.
Meanwhile, Tiger starter and winning pitcher, Cory Huskey, shut down the Eagle bats on a one-hitter. Huskey (1-2-1) struck out six and walked two.
Ryan Lawrence, the Eagle starter and loser didn't survive the first inning. Brandon Fields relieved Lawrence and pitched creditably, holding the Tigers at bay until they scored three in the fifth to close out the game on the 10-run rule.
Said Jones, "We've played five ballgames in the last six days and my pitching is depleted. I brought in Brandon (Fields) and he kept us in the game until the fifth."
Sean Bard led Cape Central with two hits and two RBIs. Patrick Slattery also had two runs batted in.
Coming into the contest with Cape Central, NMCC (2-5) had lost four games by a total of six runs -- two losses by two runs and two by one. Despite the drubbing, Jones pointed out that the team goal is to be playing well in May.
"Right now, the wins and losses mean a lot to our team as far as how we're feeling, but as for the standings, it doesn't count until the end of May," he said.
Added Jones, "I guess every club has a bad day and today was ours."