The Hawks fell to 0-3 on the season with their third straight SEMO Conference loss, losing to Chaffee 4-0 on Monday at Kelly High School.
Kelly showed no signs of life at the plate and were not much better in the field as Chaffee (3-1, 1-1 SEMO) took advantage of the mistakes to pull out the victory.
With conference foes Poplar Bluff and Dexter looming in the next two days, Kelly coach Cory Johnson says the team better find some answers quickly, or it may be a long season.
"We've been in every game this year, but we're making mistakes at crucial times," said Johnson. "We're going to lose a lot of games if we don't get some of this stuff corrected."
The mistakes emerged in the top of the first inning when Jerrod Steger reached on an error. With two outs, Kelly pitcher James Miller walked Andy Hendrix and hit Brad Daugherty with a pitch.
The the wheels really came off as Michael Lee scorched a shot towards second base. The ball not only got by the second baseman, but it got by the right fielder, allowing all three runners to score.
"In those situations you have to think one play ahead," said Johnson. "You've got to knock the baseball down and you just can't let it get by you. It ended up getting through both of us. Those three runs were pretty much the difference in the ballgame.
It gave the Red Devils a 3-0 lead right off the bat and it proved to be more than enough for Chaffee hurler Chris Hanback, who went all seven innings, striking out 10 and allowing just four hits and two walks.
"Once we got the lead we wanted Chris to be more challenging to the hitters," said Chaffee coach Brian Horrell. "We wanted him to throw strikes and make them hit the ball. That allowed him to go the whole distance because he really went out and challenged the hitters."
Chaffee added a run in the top of the second inning when Steger singled home Hanback, who had previously doubled.
Kelly, meanwhile, had plenty of opportunities as Chaffee committed six errors themselves, but Hanback was able to pitch around the mistakes with key strikeouts. Of his 10 strikeouts, six batters were caught looking.
"When you have two strikes you've got to swing the bat if it's close," said Johnson. "You've got to be aggressive and at least give yourself a chance. We had second and third with less than two outs on more than one occasion and we came away with no runs."
Miller's strong effort was spoiled. He struck out 10 batters and only allowed four hits, walked three and hit two batters. Three of the four runs were unearned.
"Any time we allow unearned runs and our pitcher throws as well as he did, that's all you can ask," said Johnson of Miller. "He did a good job."
Levi Felter led Kelly with two hits. Dustin LeGrand and Josh DeBrock added the other two hits.
Hanback collected two hits for Chaffee. Steger and Josh Steger each had one hit.
"We put enough balls in play and we had several hard shots that were right at them," said Horrell. "We didn't get a lot of hits, but when you put the ball in play good things are going to happen. The first inning was big. We got a couple breaks today."
Chaffee hosts Notre Dame Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a SEMO Conference game. The Red Devils will then host Poplar Bluff on Thursday at 4 p.m. in a SEMO Conference tilt.
Chaffee 4, Kelly 0
WP -- Chris Hanback. LP -- James Miller. Doubles -- Hanback (C). Multiple hitters -- Hanback (C) 2-4. Levi Felter (K) 2-3. Records -- Chaffee 3-1. Kelly 0-3.