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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Local teams ready for postseason play

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

(Photo)
In this file photo, Chaffee pitcher Josh Overbey tosses a pickoff throw to Chaffee first baseman Alex Davie while Charleston Squirrels runner Marshall Stallings retreats back to the bag. Both the Squirrels and Chaffee will participate in the 2011 Senior Babe Ruth Missouri State Tournament on Thursday at Chaffee. Brent Shipman, Staff
CHAFFEE -- For seven teams, a season's worth of work will all come down to how they perform starting Thursday at this year's Senior Babe Ruth Tournament being held at Chaffee City Park.

Taking part in the double-elimination tournament will be four local teams that includes host Chaffee along with the Charleston Squirrels, Charleston Woodpeckers and New Madrid County. Those rounding out the field are Missouri Valley, Mineral Area and the defending state champions, Jackson.

Kicking things off at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday the Squirrels (18-17) will take on New Madrid County (9-12). Though his team holds a 2-0 regular season record on New Madrid County, Squirrels coach Michael Minner isn't taking anything for granted.

"New Madrid is a team that probably hasn't had everybody there for most of their games," Minner said. "They're a tough team that can cause a lot of problems for other teams so it should be a good matchup for us.

"We'll definitely go into the ball game knowing we're going to have a fight on our hands so we'll have to play well to win."

On the other side, New Madrid County coach Kevin Lyons said that although his team is limited in numbers, they're healthy and ready to make a go of it.

"We've only played them twice this year," Lyons said. "One game was a little ugly, I think they beat us 10-0 and the other game we were fairly competitive in. We played a little better and lost 13-7.

"I think if we're on our best game we can compete and make a good ball game out of it."

After Jackson and Mineral Area face off at 5 p.m., host Chaffee will close out opening night playing the Woodpeckers at 8 p.m.

Much like Minner's thoughts on New Madrid County, Chaffee head coach Aaron Horrell isn't overlooking the Woodpeckers despite his team's 4-0 record against them in the regular season.

"We definitely can't take them for granted," Horrell said. "The last time we played them we won the game, but only had one hit and our hitting has been down lately.

"Baseball's humbling and usually if you overlook somebody it comes back to haunt you. So we're going to come out ready to play and if we don't, it's going to cost us."

The only team without a first round matchup will be Missouri Valley who earned the bye due to the uneven number of teams.

The winner's of Thursday's game will advance to the winner's bracket of the tournament on Friday while the losers will move to the loser's bracket where another loss will end their season. The winner of the loser's bracket would have to defeat the team coming out of the winner's bracket twice in order to win the championship.

With an opening day win giving teams a little breathing room, each coach agreed starting strong is crucial to having a good showing in the tournament

"If you lose that first game you're looking at an uphill battle," Horrell said. "Our pitching is a little thin since we've had a couple injuries and sore arms so it's going to be huge to get that first win to minimize the amount of games we have to play."

Added Minner, "You have to win the first two (to have an easier road). If you win the first one and lose the second one you're in the same spot as if you lost the first one. You have to get to the winner's bracket championship to cut down on games.

"So you absolutely have to win your first two if you want to have a shot with the quality of teams in this tournament to win it."