JACKSON -- Jackson coach Rex Crosnoe said it resembled "a boxing match" as Class 1 Chaffee nearly traded Class 4 Jackson punch for punch.
The Red Devils battled back twice but couldn't muster a third comeback in an 8-6 SEMO Conference loss to the Jackson Indians on Tuesday.
"It was a tough one to lose, especially when you know that our kids are learning how to compete," said Chaffee coach Brian Horrell. "We try to teach them to respect all our opponents, but fear no one. I thought we competed very well today against one of the big schools in the SEMO Conference."
The Indians (4-5, 2-3 in the conference) opened the scoring in the third inning on Rex Meyr's two-run homer to left field.
The 2-0 lead stood as Jackson starter Geoff Enders cruised into the fourth inning with a no-hitter until Chaffee's Brad Daugherty punched a two-out single to right field.
Chaffee (1-5, 0-5) finally got its offense untracked in the fifth inning. Adam Urhahn singled through the hole at second, then No. 9 hitter Steven Dooley laid a perfectly-placed bunt single down the third-base line bringing leadoff hitter Chris Hanback to the plate.
Hanback laced a RBI single to left field and, when the ball was misplayed, Dooley crossed the plate with the game-tying run while Hanback advanced to second. A second Jackson error in the frame allowed Hanback to tally the third run of the inning for a 3-2 Chaffee lead.
A leadoff walk, stolen base and passed ball put Jackson's Meyr in scoring position at third base to open the home half of the fifth. Meyr trotted home on a booted grounder to third.
A basehit followed by an errant throw-in put Indian baserunners on second and third.
One run scored on a groundout, another on Austin Leimer's RBI single as Jackson retook the lead at 5-3.
But, the Red Devils roared right back in the top of the sixth.
Daugherty led off with a single, advanced to second on DH Josh Steger's basehit to left field which was bobbled allowing Daugherty to reach third, Steger to second. Jerrod Steger's groundout scored Daugherty, then Urhahn's sharp single up the middle plated Josh Steger and the score was knotted again at 5 all.
The Red Devils went ahead on Hanback's second RBI single which scored Urhahn for a 6-5 advantage.
But, once again, the Red Devils failed to hang on to a lead.
"There were two times when we got the lead, then we just gave it back to them," said Horrell. "That's what we've got to learn to do, go get three outs and get back to swinging the bats."
An error on an overthrow of first base on a routine grounder opened the door for the Indians, putting the tying run at second base. The baserunner was sacrificed to third and came across to score the tying run on Meyr's sacrifice fly to right field.
A single, stolen base and wild pitch in succession put the go-ahead run at third base. A two-out RBI double followed by a bloop RBI single pushed the Indians ahead 8-6.
Chaffee had the tying runs aboard in the seventh but were unable to score.
"We sneaked one out," said Crosnoe. "We've scored early on a lot of teams, but we're not putting them away. They answered us and we answered back."
Hanback, in relief of starter Dooley, took the loss, although all three runs charged to him were unearned. Dooley went five innings, allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
Chaffee, led by Daugherty's three hits, outhit Jackson nine to eight. Hanback and Urhahn chipped in with two hits apiece.
Jackson's Bret Groening picked up the win in relief and Logan Lawson earned a save.
Busch paced the Jackson offense with three hits.
Horrell, encouraged by the Red Devils' performance in the midst of a five-
game skid, said, "I thought we swung the bats pretty well today," he said. "We didn't have as many strikeouts looking as we had early in the season. Sometimes your kids tend to get overwhelmed when you're getting beat up day in and day out, but I thought they competed well today against a good club in Jackson."
Chaffee hosts Delta today at 4 p.m.