Hops 14, Crosstown 6

‘Michael Capps and Troy McNaughton deal the damage’

Hillsboro Hops 14, Crosstown Baseball Traffic Club 6

By Jason Johnson, Special to MSBLNational.com

Maryvale Baseball Park, October 27, 2013 – The last time Michael Capps saw a championship game in the Father-Son Central Division – October 30, 2011 — he was wearing a neck brace and was lucky to be alive after a serious car wreck a month earlier.

Despite the emotional impact he provided to his father Shannon and other teammates, the team lost 4-3 to the Texas Blue Jays.

Nearly two years to the day after that, on Oct. 27, 2013, a fully-recovered Michael Capps had more than an emotional impact on the proceedings. Capps had three hits, scored a run, and pitched four strong innings in which he allowed just one run as his Hillsboro Hops baseball team claimed a 14-6 win over the Crosstown Traffic Baseball Club in the Father & Son Central championship game.

“This time, for my buddy Shannon (Capps) and us to get the ring for his son Michael (Capps), it was very meaningful. Very meaningful,” said Hops manager Eric Sawyer.

Hillsboro jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with seven hits in the first inning putting Crosstown Traffic on their heels. Crosstown Traffic battled back in the middle innings to bring the score 10-6 and with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the seventh they brought the tying run to the plate with an opportunity to get back in the game but Hops pitcher Jayson Obermiller was able to get the batter to pop out to end the inning.

“They are a very good team and I think they were really confident coming in,” said Sawyer. “When we jumped on them right away I think that was the difference maker in the game because it set the tone and made them press a little bit.”

Team most valuable player, Troy McNaughton, continued terrorizing opposing pitchers as he led the Hops by going four for five with three runs, two RBI and finished a home run shy of the cycle.

“He’s a very good defensive outfielder and swings the bat well,” said Sawyer. “He had a good tournament and we were lucky to have him. He’s a great guy in the clubhouse, too.”

After the first inning it was an uphill battle for Crosstown Traffic but they were able to continue to chip away at the lead. They were led by Neil Sather and Keith Jacobsen, who combined to go two for two with two walks batting in the sixth spot in the order. Chuck and Jim Scott also added some punch in the bottom of the order combining to go three for four with a run and RBI.

“We didn’t have it coming out of the chute,” said Crosstown Traffic manager Dave Johnson. “We’ve had so many comebacks over the years we even have a name for it called the traffic snake out. We’ve done it many times and we were expecting to do it today too.”

Depth had been an issue in past years for Crosstown Traffic so this year they brought 21 players all got their shot to play. Having a larger team gave Crosstown the opportunity to bat everyone and they all shared a spot in the batting order.

One thing that can’t be taken away from either team – win or lose – is the experience of fathers playing with their sons. This game featured a father as old as 70 (Tim Kiemel Sr.,Crosstown) and a son as young as 16 (Gavin McFadden, Hops)

“A lot of us are old-time baseball players so playing with our sons is just the greatest thing ever,” said Johnson.