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Kennett trounces Chaffee

Friday, May 5, 2006

(Photo)
Chaffee's Joh Steger awaits the throw to put out Chase Smith.
CHAFFEE -- The Chaffee Red Devils remained winless in the SEMO Conference, falling 18-4 to the visiting Kennett Indians on Thursday.

The five-inning run-rule loss buried the Red Devils, 8-12 overall, deeper in the conference basement at 0-9.

"We're not going to make any excuses," said Chaffee coach Brian Horrell. "We're 0-11 in the SEMO Conference, including two losses in the conference tournament, 8-1 out of the conference, but they're on our schedule so we're going to have to learn how to play with them. We're going to have to work in the offseason a little bit."

Chaffee held the initial lead of the game with a run in the first inning.

Steven Dooley, who collected two of Chaffee's five hits, reached on a bunt single then moved to second on an overthrow at first base. Josh Steger singled home Dooley ahead of Brad Daugherty's single.

(Photo)
Chaffee's Adam Urhahn fires a pitch
After the three-hit first inning, the Red Devils managed but one other hit off Kennett starter and winning pitcher Heath Storey. Storey gave up one run on four hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.

Kennett (14-4, 7-2) quickly erased the 1-0 deficit with three unearned runs on only one hit in the second. All three runs scored on wild pitches.

The Indians blew the contest open in the third, scoring nine runs while sending 12 batters to the plate.

Ryne Branum got things rolling with a two-out triple, then trotted home on another wild pitch.

Four consecutive hits and a walk chased Chaffee starter and loser Alex Orr with the score at 8-1.

Branum wrapped up the scoring in the third with an opposite-field grand slam just inside the fair pole in right field for a commanding 12-1 Kennett lead.

A six-run outburst in the fourth saw 11 Indians come to the plate. Jared Hughes two-run single and RBI singles by Scotty Bailey and Cody Dawson were the key hits.

Chaffee showed signs of life with three runs in the fifth off Kennett reliever Eric Preyer.

A leadoff walk to Dooley followed by Adam Orton's single and a walk to Daugherty loaded the bases.

A balk sent the Red Devils' second run home, an Andy Hendrix' groundout plated the third and the final run crossed on an error.

Kennett roughed up four Chaffee hurlers with 15 hits, led by the three hits each from Josh Lancaster and Dawson.

Branum went 2-for-3 with the triple and homer, three runs scored and four RBIs. Bailey and Hughes also stroked two hits apiece.

"We've been struggling a little bit, offensively, but today we came out and swung the bats real good," said Kennett coach Bart McAtee. "All the way up and down the lineup, everybody hit pretty good.

"We stopped hitting the last four or five games and it caught up with us in the SEMO Conference Tournament. We didn't have a very good showing in that tournament at all. We'd played better than that up to that point. Maybe we can get back on a roll before districts start in about a week and a half. We've got a tough district with Sikeston, Notre Dame, Dexter and New Madrid. Those are all very competitive teams, so we're going to have to start hitting the ball to compete with those guys."

No. 3-seed Kennett finished fourth in the SEMO Conference Tournament.

Chaffee coach Horrell refuses to alibi for his relatively young Red Devils.

"I'm still a firm believer that if you're a ballplayer, you're a ballplayer," he said. "It doesn't matter what age you are. Baseball is a sport that you've got a better chance to compete against bigger schools, but we are overmatched at times. I'm just a little disappointed sometimes that our kids are not competing.

"There is a light at the end of the tunnel," added Horrell, referring to his team's 4-0 district record."

Chaffee faces Oran in its final regular-season district game today at 4 p.m. The winner will likely secure the top seed in the district tournament.