12U Capitals end successful baseball season with 26-9-1 record

12U Capitals end successful baseball season with 26-9-1

This year’s Carlinville 12U Capitals are (left to right) AJ Odle, Preston Denney, Jace Stewart, Logan Crane, Ian Brantley, Bryce Hohnsbehn, Noah Byots, Jesse Berry, Dominic Alepra, Deacon White and Owen Schweppe. Photo contributed by Regie Byots.

Carlinville places runner-up at GMB and Game 7 World Series tournaments

By JACKSON WILSON

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

The future of baseball is on an upward trend in Macoupin County and surrounding areas.

The Carlinville 12U Capital little leaguers recently took their talents to two world series tournaments and finished runner-up in both. When all the fun was said and done, the kids walked away with an final season record of 26-9-1.

“Although it seemed to be a year that was plagued by injuries and rain, we had a fantastic season with significant contributions and development from each player,” said Capitals’ administrator Shelly Alepra. “The team is looking forward to 2019-20 and is sad to see the season end.”

On June 28, the Capitals kicked off the GMB World Series with a 4-2 victory over  the Columbia Thunder at Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex in Missouri. Preston Denney hit a home run and drove in three runs on offense. Noah Byots earned the victory on the rubber by limiting the Thunder to one earned run on two hits.

After dropping the next pool play game against Mineral Area Elite, the Capitals bounced back in a big way and earned themselves a bye in bracket play – crushing the Southern Illinois Prospects 16-4. The Carlinville bats got the coals hot from the get-go and went yard five times. Denney continued his offensive pursuit with two long balls and four RBIs. Byots led the team with five RBIs and connected on a home run  as well. Jesse Berry and Jace Stewart also joined in on the tater parade. Owen Schweppe’s pitching performace of one run on four hits was the icing on the cake.

The Capital bats settled back down to Earth against the Morton Potters. However, the team still fought through the adversity and advanced to the title game in dramatic fashion, 3-2. Stewart went the distance on the hill and Ian Brantley triggered the celebration with a walkoff single in the bottom of the sixth.

Carlinville was defeated by the St. Louis Naturals in the GMB championship. Logan Crane went two for three at the plate for the Capitals in the loss.

Two weeks later, the Captials returned to Missouri for the Game 7 World Series. This competition took place at two different locations (Wildwood and Chesterfield) and featured 13 teams from five different states.

Carlinville began pool play by overpowering the Merton Mavericks, 11-2, on July 13. The pitching trio of Dominic Alepra, A.J. Odle and Brantley kept the Mavericks from pushing across an earned run. Byots, Schweppe and Stewart all produced two hits with the bat. The Capitals also had the privilege of welcoming Deacon White back into the rotation. White had been out with an injury for the past six weeks.

The Capitals won their next game in identical fashion, which earned them yet another bracket bye. Byots, Stewart and Denney allowed one earned run on one hit as a pitching unit. On the other side, the Carlinville batters exploded for a total of 15 hits. Denney went deep once again while sending in four runs on two knocks. Alepra went three for three. Odle, Byots, Crane and Brantley all had multi-hit performaces too. The Capitals trounced the St. Louis Sting 14-2.

The mirrored imagery was still in effect for the Game 7 semifinal. As they did in Bridgeton, the Capitals punched their ticket to the championship match in walkoff fashion. Stewart tossed a complete game on the mound and Denney put the dagger into the heart of the St. Louis Rivercats by sending another moonshot over the fence. Carlinville won 6-5.

The fans and players were anticipating a fantastic finish in the grand finale, but Mother Nature showed no sympathy. Due to endless amounts of rain and thunderstorms, the rest of the tournament had to be postponed. The champion was then determind based on overall record and fewest tallies allowed. As a result, the Capitals were garnered runner-up trophies and rings yet again.

The Carlinville Capitals’ roster is comprised of Alepra (Carlinville), Byots (Carlinville), Jesse Berry (Gillespie), Brantley (Southwestern/Brighton), Crane (Southwestern/Brighton), Denney (Staunton), Bryce Hohnsbehn (Gillespie), Odle (Litchfield), Schweppe (Gillespie), Stewart (Litchfield) and White (Southwestern/Medora). Aiden Wagner (Carlinville), Mason Wise (Carlinville) and Ethan Saathoff (Litchfield) have filled in as substitutes.

The Capitals are coached by Jim Odle and assisted by Larry Schweppe and Matt Alepra.

This year’s team was sponsored by The Prairie Heart Institute, The Carpenter’s Union 270 of Litchfield, Hillsboro Hospital, Ranger and Sons, Dinger’s of Gillespie, Head Bangerz, Wild Pickens Winery,  Alton Policeman’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Unit 14 and H&R Block of Litchfield and Carlinville – Brett and Shelli Crow.