Wade Walter of Juneau helped a team from Missouri win its opening game of the National Baseball Congress World Series early Monday morning in Wichita, Kan.
Walter, a 1998 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, played first base and hit fifth for the Cape Girardeau (Mo.) Plaza Tire Capahas as they beat the Oklahoma As 7-5 in a game that didnt start until 2:25 a.m. Central time (11:25 p.m. Sunday ADT) and ended at 4:31 a.m. (1:31 a.m. ADT).
The Capahas scored three runs in the first inning, with Walter supplying a double and scoring a run. Walter also walked in the third inning and went 1-for-3 with a run in the game.
Cape Girardeau led 3-2 until the top of the eighth, when the As took a 5-3 lead. But the Capahas rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to reclaim the lead. Walter was the only player who didnt bat in the inning.
The Capahas began play in 1894 and are considered the oldest team of their type still in existence in the country. The team was named for the CA-PA-HA flour company, and the team kept the name even when the flour company dropped its sponsorship in the early 1900s.
Walter is a former third baseman for Mendocino Community College in Ukiah, Calif., and for NCAA Division I Belmont University of Nashville, Tenn. Walter, who graduated with a teaching degree in physical education from Belmont, led the Bruins in hitting as a junior with a .352 batting average. Walter is working on his masters degree in sports management at Belmont and has two years left in the program.
The Capahas will play the Alaska League champion Mat-Su Miners on Wednesday in the second round of the tournament. Mat-Su, which won the NBC World Series in 1987 and 1997, had a first-round bye.
The other Alaska League team in the tournament is the Anchorage Bucs, who play the San Diego Stars on Thursday. The Bucs have Juneau right-handed pitcher Dylan Hickey (2002 JDHS grad, attends Santa Clara University) on their roster.
Earlier this year, infielder Joe Ayers (2003 JDHS grad, attends Stanford University) played for the Bucs. But he left the Bucs to join the Portland Wildcats of the Portland (Ore.) City Leagues College Wood-Bat League, where former JDHS teammates Zach Kohan (San Francisco University) and Evan Scandling (City College of San Francisco) also play.
Alaska League teams have won 16 NBC World Series titles since 1969.