(Photo by Kyle Carter, Staff)
Or maybe it was that he normally always steps up in big games.
Whatever it was, Chaffee Legion starter Trey Graviett came out throwing darts Monday night in the legion opener against Sikeston.
Graviett struck out the first six batters he faced, had no problem setting down hitters in the third and fourth and led Chaffee to a 6-5 win as he mowed down 13 Sikeston hitters.
"He (Graviett) did a good job for us tonight," said Chaffee head coach Mitch Wood. "Out defense was pretty good tonight other than a couple of silly mistakes. We are just tickled to death to start out with a win."
"He (Graviett) just came out like a house on fire," said Sikeston's head coach Charlie Dye. "He struck out the first six hitters we threw at him tonight, I would have to say that's a very quality pitcher."
Although Chaffee couldn't get anything going in the first two innings against Sikeston's Ben Stricklin, Chaffee tagged him for five runs in the bottom of the third as Tyler Cookson had the big hit of the inning.
Cookson blasted a double down the left field line to bring in one. Cookson would eventually score on a play at the plate off the bat of Joey Bickings.
After Bickings' singled to right, Stricklin was yanked and in came Josh Miller.
Miller, who would have completely shut the door had it not been for errors, held the damage to only two runs. One of which scored on a throwing error.
Graviett began his own demise as he allowed a leadoff walk to Sikeston's Jake Kimball in the top of the fifth.
Ben Pyles would then break up Graviett's bid for a no-hitter with a single to right, sending Kimball to third.
Kimball would come in as the third hitter of the inning, designated hitter Matt Smith, sent a chopper up the middle and beat it out.
Adam Miller, next to the dish, put down a bunt that died on the first base line four feet from home plate. The squibber loaded the bases for Sikeston.
Catcher Jeff Hunter then stepped in and blooped a single into right to plate Pyles.
With one out and Richard Landers at the plate, Sikeston still had the bases juiced.
As Smith danced off of third, Chaffee catcher Nathan Seyer fired down behind the runner.
The ball drifted into left field and Smith came home, cutting Chaffee's lead to 5-3.
"Behind the plate was a little shaky for us tonight. He's (Seyer) usually pretty solid for us behind the plate, but this is the first time he has played legion ball. He's never played with some of these guys before, but he'll be alright," said Wood.
It didn't take very long for Chaffee to get one back as Major Burger reached on an error by Sikeston's shortstop.
Burger played station-to-station baseball as he reached second on a pitch that hit Zac Horman, he traveled to third on a sacrifice by Eric O'Hare and he scored on a single to right by Kendall Deason.
Chaffee had the chance to pick up at least one more run, but Horman was caught in a run down between third and the plate and was not able to avoid Miller's tag.
Sikeston would put two more up on the board as Scotty Keenan started the sixth inning off with a walk.
Kimball then drilled a shot off the right field fence to put runners at second and third.
After a strikeout, Smith hit a one hop bullet down to Horman at third base.
Horman threw the ball home, but with the sun in his eyes, Seyer could not pick up the throw, which hit Smith's bat on home plate.
Keenan scored on the fielder's choice.
Kimball came in on a wild pitch to cut Chaffee's lead to one at 6-5.
With Bryce Wibbenmeyer at the plate in the same inning, Sikeston missed its first opportunity to tie the game as a wild pitch got past Chaffee's catcher.
Smith came home, but Seyer's throw back to Graviett was on the mark and the hurler tagger out Smith.
Chaffee would threaten in the bottom of the sixth as Graviett would reach third, but was hung out to dry by a strikeout and a fly to right.
Seyer would reach third with only one out for Chaffee in the bottom of the seventh, but they could not plate him as well.
In the bottom of the eighth Sikeston hurler Bryce Wibbenmeyer got himself in trouble by walking the first two hitters he faced, but shortstop Willie Dooley turned a line drive into a double play to erase Tyler Cookson from second.
Horman then sent a screamer Kimball's way and he snagged it for the final out.
"Our pitching really didn't do that bad tonight," said Dye. "Josh and Bryce both really threw well for us tonight. Ben threw O.K., just he had a couple of bad bounces that really hurt him."
Sikeston pinch hitter Mack Taylor drilled a one out offering in the top of the ninth to the warning track in center field, but it didn't have enough to carry out.
That was the last chance Sikeston would have to tie the ball game.
"At least the kids didn't quit," said Dye. "We had the chance there a couple of times to tie the game or even to take the lead, but with us down 5-0 they didn't give up. I think that says a lot about this team especially since this is only our first game."