(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Giving up 15 hits, seven for extra bases, the Charleston Squirrels fell to Cape Girardeau's Ford and Son's Post 63 American Legion team 12-2 Wednesday evening at Capaha Field.
"You have to throw strikes and you have to play defense whenever you're playing these good teams," Charleston coach Michael Minner said. "If you don't it gets ugly in a hurry."
Making up for stranding the bases loaded in the first, Post 63 was able to grab a big lead early when they rallied for five runs off six hits in the bottom of the second inning to go up 5-0.
Capping the rally, Andrew Williams hit a bases loaded, two-out single to left centerfield to score the final two runs from second and third.
In what turned out to be their only runs of the night, the Squirrels closed back to within three of Cape Girardeau when Jonathan Boone kicked off the frame with a double to right field.
Next to bat, Josh Boese hit a triple past the center fielder to score Boone before coming in himself on a Jeff Long sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Unable to hold down Post 63's offense, however, Charleston saw Cape Girardeau score twice in bottom of the third to retake their five-run lead before coming out in the fourth and rally for another four runs to go up 11-2.
Though the game was scheduled for nine innings, Post 63 was able to end the game early when, in the bottom of the seventh, they scored one last time to end the game on the mercy rule.
After starting the inning with a strikeout, Cape Girardeau got a pinch hit double from Josh Hyatt to put the winning run at second. In the next at bat, another pinch hitter, Josh Meyer, closed the game out hitting a double to right center to score Hyatt and end the game.
"We played really well," Post 63 coach Todd Pennington said. "We played as a team a little bit more today and we're starting to get the feel of each other."
Picking up the win, Ronnie Scott went five innings on the mound for Cape Girardeau allowing two runs on three hits and no walks while striking out three.
Leading Cape Girardeau's potent offense, leadoff hitter Cody Livesay was 4 for 4 at the plate with a triple and four runs batted in. Both Jimmy Obermark and Brent Taylor contributed a pair of hits, including a double apiece.
For the Squirrels, who had a combined four hits, Boone and Boese had a double and triple respectively while Ryan Moses and Marshall Stallings each collected a single.
With his team off to an 0-3 start to the season, Minner said a long layoff after the high school season on top of playing quality teams has led to a rough early going for his squad.
"We've started off with two of the tougher teams in the area," he said. "We need to make sure that we play teams that get us ready. We just have to have a little more battle."
He added, "We've had guys that have been off for a couple of weeks. When you're not throwing everyday and you're not getting your work its tough to throw strikes sometimes."
Next up, the Squirrels will play the Charleston Woodpeckers today at 6 p.m. at Hillhouse Park in Charleston.
Charleston 002 000 0 - 2
Cape 052 400 1 - 12
WP -- Ronnie Scott. LP -- Mikey Russell. 2B -- (CH) Jonathan Boone; (CA) Ross Moldenhauer, Jimmy Obermark, Brent Taylor, Josh Hyatt, Josh Meyer. 3B -- (CH) Josh Boese; (CA) Cody Livesay, Adam Pennington.