CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The Kelly Hawks' bats were silenced by Cape Central ace Brad LaBruyere in a 5-1 SEMO Conference Tournament quarterfinal loss on Friday.
"That may be his best game of the year," said Cape Central Tiger coach Steve Williams. "He had his best velocity and real good breaking stuff today."
The seventh-seed Hawks (9-7) saw their five-game win streak snapped by the No. 2-seed Tigers (11-6) and the overpowering LaBruyere, who tossed a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts.
"We faced probably the best high school pitcher in the state of Missouri and he's going Division I (Southeast Missouri State) for a reason," said Kelly coach Cory Johnson of LaBruyere. "He was just better than we were today."
Kelly lit the scoreboard first as Dallas Tew tripled into the gap in right-
centerfield and scored on Dustin LeGrand's basehit.
Cape Central retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the first and tacked on two more in the second to go up 4-1.
"They got one in the first, so it was good for us to answer and take that lead back," Williams said. "I think that helped relax Brad and, for the rest of the day, he was hitting his spots and making good pitches."
In the third inning, the Hawks posed a mild threat when, with one out, Levi Felter reached on an errant throw off a dropped third strike and advanced to second on Taylor James' bad-hop ground single. However, an inning-ending double play wiped out the mini-rally.
Kelly starter Bryce Faulkner also turned in a strong outing, going the distance while allowing four earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
"We can take a lot of positives from this game," said Johnson, whose Hawks were blown out 15-5 in an earlier meeting with the Tigers. "Bryce threw a heck of a ballgame and kept us in it. We made a couple of mental mistakes that hurt us but I thought our defense (one error) played well. Our bats just didn't work."
Cape Central's Blake Slattery closed the scoring in the fifth inning with a towering solo blast over the left-centerfield wall.
"He's been hot," said Williams. "That's his fifth homer in seven games."
The loss dropped the Hawks into the losers' bracket where they'll face the New Madrid County Central-Chaffee winner at Notre Dame High School at 2 p.m.
Cape Central hosts Jackson, a 12-2 winner over Notre Dame, in a semifinal matchup at 2 p.m.