SCOTT CITY -- Charleston lost a heartbreaker to Scott City in the opening round of the Class 2, District 2 baseball tournament on Monday.
Charleston coach Chris Stanfield, who said going in that his team had been prone to giving up the big inning, had his worst fears realized.
The host Rams (8-10) rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh to squeeze out a 4-3 win over the Bluejays.
"It's not that we kicked it around," said Stanfield. "They just put the ball in spots where we couldn't handle it."
Said Scott City coach Mike Umfleet, "Charleston played with a lot of enthusiasm and played well enough to win that game, but I also give our kids credit for not quitting."
No. 6-seed Charleston (5-18) appeared poised to pull off the upset of third-
seeded Scott City, sitting on a 3-0 lead and needing just three outs.
In the seventh, Scott City's leadoff hitter Andy Stephens reached on an error, then advanced to second on Cody Carlyle's line single to center field.
Bluejays' pitcher Brink Naile struck out the next two hitters, but a bloop single to right field by Blake Dirnberger scored Stephens to cut the lead to 3
-1. With the baserunners moving with two outs, a high popup by Jason Schenimann fell untouched in shallow left field plating the tying runs.
Schenimann advanced to second, then scored the winning run when Rams' cleanup hitter Kyle Curry looped a single to right field.
"When we got that first guy on, it seemed like we got a little bit of enthusiasm," said Umfleet. "We said a few prayers and got them answered."
"Give them credit," said Stanfield. "All day we didn't put the ball in play with two outs, they did. They didn't hit the ball hard but they scratched a hit here, scratched a hit there, blooped a hit between fielders."
The Bluejays took advantage of a couple of Scott City miscues to forge an early 2-0 lead.
"We played a little small ball, they had a little trouble handling it and we scratched across a couple," said Stanfield.
In the first inning, Charleston drew first blood without a ball leaving the infield.
Leadoff man Naile, with a gritty 10-pitch at-bat, was safe on a throwing error.
"He's a battler," said Stanfield. "He had a great at-bat and set the tone for the whole inning."
Next batter John Robert Goodin laid down a bunt that was bobbled for an error, then Dustin McCann loaded the bases with a bunt single.
After one was out, Tommy Starr drove in Naile with an infield single. A bases loaded walk allowed the second run to cross the plate.
The Bluejays upped the lead to 3-0 in the second inning when Goodin doubled home Naile, who was hit by a pitch.
Both teams received quality pitching performances from its starters, who each went the distance.
Winning pitcher Stephens struck out 17 with a three-hitter, allowing one earned run.
"He's just a heckuva competitor," said Umfleet. "He's got a great arm and he knows what he's doing out there. He was just outstanding today."
Hard-luck loser Naile allowed no earned runs, gave up eight hits and struck out five.
Despite the loss and the end to a disappointing season, Stanfield praised the effort of his team.
"I'm proud as heck of these guys," he said. "It's, by far, the best game we've played all year. It's a shame it had to end like that."
In other first-round action, No. 1 Kelly cut down No. 8 Woodland, 13-0, in a five-inning mercy run-rule victory.
Sophomore Dallas Tew (2-2) tossed a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts for the win. Tew took a perfect game into the fifth.
Brandon Ayers led the Hawks' offense a perfect 3-for-3 day with a triple and a double.
Caleb Daughhetee was 2-for-3 with a triple, Jordan Felter 2-for-3 with a triple, Kent Deason 2-for-3 with a double and Kendal Deason 2-for-4 with a double.
Kelly improved to 12-10.
Crystal City, the No. 2 seed, scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
No. 7 Grandview held a 4-0 lead into the fifth when Crystal City exploded for five runs, four on a grand slam by Seth Blum.
Grandview tallied once in the sixth to tie it at 5, before the Hornets closed out the victory.
Brian Buchheit's RBI single in the eighth inning eliminated No. 4 Valle and pushed No. 5 St. Vincent into the semifinals.
Justin Ruessler picked up the win with a five-hitter.
Kelly faces St. Vincent at 2 p.m., followed by Scott City vs. Crystal City at 4 p.m.
Chaffee overcame five errors to defeat fifth-seeded Bell City 4-1.
Steven Dooley won his second game on the mound, and Jeff Daugherty had two hits for the No. 4 Devils (7-13).
Nick Niemczyk suffered the loss for Bell City, while Cody Bailey and Garrett McIntyre each had two hits.
Chaffee will play top-seeded Advance, a 10-0 winner over Richland, in the semifinal round at 3 p.m. today. Craig Friga and Austin Dumey each had three hits as Oran routed Scott County Central 30-2 in five innings.
Kody Campbell pitched three innings for the win. Oran outhit Scott County 24-5.
Trevor Irwin, Chase Seyer, Campbell, Paul Bucher and Ryan Bouge had two hits apiece for the Eagles (16-7).
Paul Johnson had two hits for the Braves.
Oran will face Bernie in the semifinals at 5 p.m. today. Bernie defeated Delta 13-0 in the quarterfinals.