The Capital City Cavaliers are 14 games in. They're starting to show the benefits of that time on the field.
"They were very competitive," Capital City coach Brett Skinner said following defeats of 6-2 and 5-1 to the Jefferson City Jays on Tuesday night in summer league play at Vivion Field. "I was pleased."
The Cavaliers' hurlers kept innings from getting out of hand, pitching themselves out of trouble as the Jays left 21 runners on base in the 11 combined innings.
Jefferson City's Cade Beckley got ahold of a pitch in the first inning of Game 1 for a two-run line-drive single to right field as part of a three-run inning.
But Ben Turner limited the damage with a flyout to center field with the bases loaded.
Cavaliers center fielder Brett Kuebler assisted relief pitcher Preston Pinet in the third inning, sprinting forward to make a diving grab following Will Berendzen's triple that bounced off the fence in left-center field.
Kuebler also tracked down a deep fly ball to his right to end the first game in the sixth with three Jays on base.
"Even when he was a freshman here, he's kid that you never had to get on about effort or anything like that," Jays coach Kyle Lasley said of Kuebler. "He's just a kid that's always going to give it all he's got."
Pinet went four innings for Capital City, striking out four while allowing three unearned runs and six hits.
"Pitchers were great, threw strikes," Skinner said. "They're only throwing about two pitches right now, so as soon as they learn a third one and they can command that they're going to be more effective."
Wyatt Fischer was responsible for three of those hits from the leadoff spot. He also had two hits and two RBI in Game 2.
"There was just small little twitch in his swing where his shoulder level was getting tilted a little bit too soon, he wasn't getting his top hand through the ball and getting into extension," Lasley said. "We've kind of been doing some things in practice and he's kind of starting to figure it out a little bit and see the ball really well."
Lasley got one of his pitchers back Tuesday with Case Hager tossing five innings, limiting the Cavaliers to one hit and one run with eight strikeouts and four walks. Hager has been playing with a travel team this summer.
"Just to give our arms a break," Lasley said. "He came in and did what he's supposed to do."
The Jays had their best hitting of the night in the second inning of Game 2.
Taylor Hopkins sent a high pitch to the fence in left field for a two-run triple. Ethan Dubois followed with a triple to the corner in right field for a 4-0 lead.
Joe Hoerchler added a liner to left for an RBI single. Hoerchler finished 3-for-3 with that RBI.
"It was good to see guys square some balls up," Lasley said. "We squared a lot of balls up tonight, but we just couldn't come up with a timely hit, really consecutive hits."
That was the end of the scoring for the Jays, who left three runners in scoring position in the remaining three innings.
Caydin Engelbrecht went two innings of relief, allowing two runs and four hits with a pair of strikeouts and a walk. Colin Flaherty completed the final two innings, holding the Jays to three hits.
"A lot of them were doing well mixing it up and keeping them off-balance," Skinner said. "That let us get out of those innings."
Tanner Schmitz earned the win on the mound for Jefferson City, allowing four hits and a run with three strikeouts and three walks in three innings.
Fischer shut down the Cavs in the fourth and fifth innings, striking out the first four batters he faced and getting the final two to ground out.
"He's been pretty good for us all summer,"Lasley said. "I think he's kind of starting to find this groove a little bit."
The Jays will head to New Bloomfield on Thursday, while the Cavs will host Fulton. both doubleheaders are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.