Dexter's Tyler Moore drove in three runs and combined on a four-hitter with Josh Stevens in a 5-3 win over New Madrid County Central, but in the process the Bearcats may have lost catcher Drew Pixley.
Pixley re-injured his thumb while sliding into third base in the first inning and the all-conference catcher was forced to leave the game in the top of the second when he was unable to handle the catching duties.
Pixley went to the hospital for x-rays, but there was too much swelling. He was to return to the hospital later when the swelling went down to try and determine the extent of the injury. The results of those x-rays were unknown at press time.
"He hurt his thumb against Sikeston during the semifinals of the SEMO Conference tournament," Dexter coach Brian Becker said after the game. "Ever since then, he has been having some trouble, but today when he slide into the third he hit it (his thumb) on the third baseman it seemed to be more of a major problem.
"He's gutted it out as much as he could (with the injury), and he didn't want to leave the game, but right now we need him healthy for districts," Becker continued. "I'm hoping that the x-rays turn out negative."
The injury is to Pixley's left hand, or catching hand, and is located at the knuckle.
Pixley's injury came in the first inning after he led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a grounder for the second out of the inning.
Steven's single up the middle scored Pixley, and Moore chased Stevens home with a double to right-center but was thrown out trying to move to third on the play.
Moore worked the first three innings and allowed just two hits, but Dexter's defense faltered in the third inning and allowed the Eagles to score three unearned runs to take a 3-2 lead.
Dexter was quick to respond with a three-run third to retake the lead, 5-3.
David Hessling led off the inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on a pass ball. Freshman Ben Mills, who replaced Pixley behind the plate, also drew a walk and stole second to put two runners in scoring position.
Cole Smith's deep fly scored Hessling and moved Mills to third. Caleb Miller followed with a single and stole second before Moore delivered a two-out, two-run single.
Stevens came in to pitch in the fourth and the senior right-hander recorded eight strikeouts and allowed just three base runners over the final four innings to pick up the win.
"Ben (Mills) did a good job filling in for Pixley," Becker said. "And that's what it takes. When someone goes down, somebody has to step up and Ben did that for us today (Monday)."
Dexter was able to collect seven hits off NMCC starter Kyle Marshall, who was tagged with the complete-game loss. The Eagles dropped to 3-9 on the season.
Dexter improved to 15-5, 6-2 in SEMO Conference play, with the win. The Bearcats will be in action again today when they are scheduled to travel to Kennett for a game with the Indians, weather permitting.
New Madrid will also be the Bearcats' opening-round opponent in the Class 3, District 1 tournament May 14 (Monday) at Dexter.