2012-05-30 / Sports

The Rapids’ ‘Mac’ Caples has full menu of baseball skills

By Fred Jeter

Playing against L.C. Bird High last week, James River High’s Mac Caples crossed home plate for a second run during the 2012 Dominion District Tournament. 
Page Dowdy/Chesterfield Observer Playing against L.C. Bird High last week, James River High’s Mac Caples crossed home plate for a second run during the 2012 Dominion District Tournament. Page Dowdy/Chesterfield Observer James River High’s version of a Big Mac Attack has nothing to do with two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun.

So often, the Rapids’ meal ticket is Timothy McLean “Mac” Caples, who swings a wicked right-handed bat in the meat of coach Pete Schumacher’s oh-so-juicy lineup.

“I can’t say enough about Mac,” said Schumacher of his burly junior third-baseman who hits third. “He’s a special kid, really in every facet.”

The well-sculpted 6-foot, 190-pounder is a top-o-the-list reason why the Rapids have been ranked No. 1 in the area most of this spring and are contending for region and state honors.

“Our goal, from the first day of practice, is to be state champs,” said Caples. “But it’s something we have to continue to work toward; no one is handing it to us.”

The son of Timothy and Jill Caples cut his baseball molars in the Huguenot Little League; then he spread his wings further with the Virginia Cardinals showcase squad.

An impressionable young Caples was wide-eyed in the grandstands during 2007 and ’08 when the Rapids were rolling to consecutive state crowns.

“I remember thinking that looked like fun,” said Caples. “I couldn’t help but think maybe me some day.”

Schumacher’s meat-grinding program off Robious Road marched to the state semifinals last year before running into South County.

With much of the lineup returning, this shaped up as a banner season and, so far, there’s been no disappointment.

Caples sparkles in the obvious areas – hitting and fielding; and also in categories in which there are no official statistics. FFFFor instance, Schumacher suggests Caples is a dirty player – that’s dirty in the right kind of way.

“Mac’s uniform always looks the same, stained with dirt, especially in the front,” said Schumacher of jersey No. 8. “He likes nothing better than to take the extra base, slide hard … come up smiling.

“And he’s the first to congratulate his teammates when they play the same way. He’s even that way in practice.”

Even with the deadened BBCOR bats mandated this spring, Caples slugged with gusto, stroking six homers, knocking in 23 runs while hitting a whisker under .400.

“The BBCOR bats haven’t been a factor with me,” he insists.

He was named to the All-Dominion District Team for a second straight year.

As a freshman, he not only cracked Schumacher’s lineup but earned second-team, All-District honors – a rare honor for a ninth-grader in a Grade-A program.

“As I recall, Mac hit five homers as a freshman,” said Schumacher. “That’s pretty impressive. It’s great to have had him three years already … and to have another to go.”

Virginia Tech was so impressed with Caples’ skills package, temperament and solid academics that they have already offered a baseball schollie.

Verbally committing, he’ll become a Hokie in 2013.

Caples’ role figures to change his senior year in Rapids’ purple ’n’ green following the graduation of ace hurlers Nathan Kirby, Kit Scheetz and Tyler Carrico.

Kirby, a brilliant left-hander, is headed to University of Virginia and Scheetz, currently injured, will precede Caples to Blacksburg.

Next spring, the Dominion District will see more of Caples’ laser-beam throwing arm from a new address – the pitching mound.

“He throws in the high 80s, actually,” said Schumacher. “He’s pitched some for us this season and he’ll throw a lot more next year.”

Next spring seems light years away for Caples & Co.

In the meantime, there remain so many home runs to swat, bases to slide into, uniforms to dirty-up and, best of all, games to win.

If you’re a Rapids fan, that’s a mouthwatering combo all by itself. Hold the fries.

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