(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Holding the Charleston Woodpeckers to two hits after taking a no-hit bid into the sixth, Chaffee's Blake Keasler led his team to a 5-2 win on Friday in the first game of a doubleheader.
"It was in my mind, I'm not going to lie," Keasler said of his chances at a no-hitter. "They were talking about it in the dugout and I was trying not to think about it too much, but then I let it go in the sixth."
"I felt good. I just went out there, threw a lot of strikes and let the defense work. It worked well for us today."
Needing only six more outs to complete his effort, Keasler surrendered back-to-back hits to start off the sixth that led to a pair of Charleston runs.
Opening up the frame, Chance Maness was able to break Charleston's offense out of their slump when he hit a shot to left-center field that led to a stand up double. Nathan Maynard followed with a triple to right center field, scoring Maness and breaking up the shutout.
The Woodpeckers only other run of the game in the next at bat when Nathan Holland hit a fly ball to center field to score Maynard from third to make it 5-2.
Staying composed, however, Keasler retired the next two batters in order to end the inning before Connor Scott closed out the game pitching a flawless seventh inning to pick up the save.
"Keasler did an outstanding job of throwing strikes," Chaffee coach Aaron Horrell said. "We needed to get Connor Scott some work, but Blake had a no hitter going and had only threw about 55 pitches so there's no use in taking him out (to start the sixth)."
"The guys kind of jinxed him talking about it a little bit and then Charleston got back-to-back hits. But he fought threw it."
Keasler finished the game allowing two hits and a walk while striking out three and hitting two batters.
Giving their pitcher some breathing room early, the Squids did all their damage in the first three innings with leadoff hitter Scott Foster opening the game hitting a triple before being brought in on a Jared Walker single to shallow right field to give Chaffee the early 1-0 lead.
After scoring another run in the second, the Squids broke out for their biggest rally of the night in the third frame when Walker, Daniel Dooley and Cody Payne opened the inning with consecutive hits.
During Payne's at bat Walker came home on a passed ball before Payne hit a double to bring Dooley making it a 4-0 ball game at the time.
The Squids final run came Keasler contributed to his own cause hitting a single to left to score pinch runner Mitchell Dirnberger from third.
"This team's good about that," Keasler said of the early run support. "We'll jump on teams early and give the pitcher some comfort when they get out there."
After a four hit performance in the Squids last contest, Walker once again set the pace for Chaffee going 2 for 4 at the plate while scoring and driving in a run.
"Jared has got real hot here in the last week or so," Horrell said. "He was struggling a little bit, but he made an adjustment at the plate and he's been hitting the ball well for us."
Picking up where they left off, the Squids came back in the second game and won 11-5 with Andrew Dooley picking up the mound.
Chaffee now stands at 18-1 on the season while Charleston drops to 4-5.
Chaffee 113 000 0 - 5
Charleston 000 002 0 - 2
WP -- Blake Keasler. LP -- Ryan Mathis. SV -- Connor Scott. 2B -- (CF) Jared Walker, Cody Payne; (CH) Chance Maness. 3B -- (CF) Scott Foster; (CH) Nathan Maynard.