The Tigers sent 11 batters to the plate in the third inning and score six runs - aided by three costly Bearcat errors - as Cape Central defeated Dexter, 9-4, in the third place game of the SEMO Conference Tournament Monday at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau.
"You can't give a good team like Cape more than three outs an inning," said Dexter coach Brian Becker after the game. "We had the one bad inning against them and they made us pay for it.
"We just dug to big a hole to get out of," he added. "But I was proud of the boys for the way they hung in there and the effort they gave."
Dexter finished with five errors, by far their worst defensive performance of the season.
Cape Central sent their ace, Brad LaBruyere, to the mound against Dexter but the Bearcats were able to get to the hard-throwing right-hander that many consider as the area's best pitcher this season.
LaBruyere limited the 'Cats to just six hits, but three were for extra bases and included a pinch-hit home run by Derrick Chamberlain in the top of the seventh.
Most of Dexter's offense came from the bottom of the order. Chamberlain's blast down the right-field line over the 330-ft mark came in the seven slot, while Logan Swindle delivered a 2-run double in the third hitting eighth and David Hessling (2-for-3) connected for a triple in the fifth hitting ninth. Dexter's one through six hitters only managed one hit for the game.
Dexter starter Josh Stevens was touched up for two runs in the first inning. Tiger lead-off hitter Matt Hester reached on Dexter's first error of the game and Blake Slattery was hit by a pitch to put the first two Tiger batters on.
LaBruyere followed his first of two RBI-singles and Chris Brotherton followed with a one-out single give the Tigers a quick 2-0 advantage.
Dexter answered in the top of the second with three runs to take a brief lead. Eric Windham worked LaBruyere for a one-out walk and Kyle Cox delivered a single. Swindle chased both home with a double and Hessling's single up the middle pushed Dexter out front, 3-2.
Dexter's second error of the game put the lead-off hitter on for Cape in the bottom of the innings, but the 'Cats defense cut the lead runner down at second twice as neither Nick Allen and Matt Hester could get the ball out of the infield.
Stevens appeared ready to escape the inning before Slattery singled and LaBruyere helped his own cause with his second RBI-single of the game to tie the score at 30-all.
After an easy third for LaBruyere, the Tigers capitalized on a poor defensive sequence by the 'Cats in the home half of the frame, scoring six times to take charge of the game.
The Tigers managed four singles in the inning, but the big damage was done when the 'Cats misplayed three infield balls that accounted for four of runs.
Stevens and Dexter settled down over the next three innings, allowing just one hit while facing just two batters over the minimum, but LaBruyere was able to nurse the lead over the final innings to pick up the win.
Both Stevens and LaBruyere pitched complete games. The line on Stevens read nine runs on 10 hits, while LaBruyere was touched up for four runs on six hits. Both pitchers had two strikeouts and issued two walks.
Cape improved to 12-8 on the season, while Dexter slipped to 13-5.
The Bearcats will be back in action again today when they will host the Malden Green Wave at 4 o'clock.
The Hawks won their third straight game in the tournament to capture the consolation bracket title.
"Anytime you come out with three wins in this tournament with the teams that are in this conference, you've got to feel pretty good about it," Kelly coach Cory Johnson said.
Pitcher Dallas Tew limited Kennett to one run on four hits to improve his record to 2-1. He struck out four.
Kelly took advantage of six Kennett errors.
Ryan Essner was 3-for-3 with three runs scored to pace the Hawks (11-7). Levi Felter, Tew and Dustin LeGrand each added two hits.
Felter and Tew had two RBIs apiece, while Taylor James had two RBI and two runs scored.
"We were aggressive at the plate, maybe a little too aggressive in the early innings against their crafty lefthander," Johnson said. "But we started waiting on the ball and putting it in play, and they made some errors. We hit the ball hard, though."
Jimmy Clifton had two hits for Kennett, which had three triples in the game.
Toby Carrig of the SEMO News Service contributed to this report.