(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CHAFFEE -- In four previous games this season, the Charleston Woodpeckers were unable to ever get a win against the Chaffee Squids.
On Thursday night kicking off the opening round of the Missouri Senior Babe Ruth State Baseball Tournament in Chaffee, that trend continued as the Squids posted a 14-3 win sending Chaffee to the winner's bracket and Charleston just one loss away from elimination in the double-elimination tournament.
"They hit the baseball and they're a good team," Charleston head coach Paul Bucher said. "They've beat us every time we've played them."
Although they hold an unbeaten streak over them, Chaffee catcher Cody Payne believes none of that matters.
"You can never take anyone lightly," he said.
The Squids sprayed a total of 15 hits while their three pitchers kept Charleston to five.
Connor Scott, who started on the bump for Chaffee, threw just two innings while Alex Davie tossed three and Scott Foster finished out the final two. Scott was given credit for the win.
It's a tactic Chaffee head coach Aaron Horrell implied in an effort to save arms for what could end up being a five-day tournament.
"We went with Connor first and I wanted to save his arm," Horrell said. "We got a 4-0 lead and we got Davie in to get him some work in -- just enough to keep everyone fresh. Everyone's pretty good to go for the rest of the tournament."
Chaffee began the contest with a spark from Payne. Payne was the definition of a leadoff hitter while going 4 for 5, including a double, with two RBI and scoring each time he reached base.
His double was during his first at-bat which he eventually came around to score on following a fielder's choice play.
"Out bats haven't been turned on very much but the past few games we've been able to turn them on," Payne said.
The Squids (30-8) tacked on three more in the second inning which featured Payne's two-RBI single that scored both Nolan Urhahn and Davie.
The Woodpeckers struggled to figure out Scott in his two innings. Scott allowed just one base runner, who advanced by way of an error, while striking out three.
Once Scott left the mound to make way for Davie, the Woodpeckers got their first hit from their No. 8 hitter, Matt Dorris, in the bottom of the third inning. Dorris was eventually pushed across the plate following Chaffee's second error of the game.
Chaffee, however, shook off the Woopeckers' one run rather quickly.
They scored two runs in the fourth to make it 6-1 and then flirted with ending the game early by scoring five more in the top of the sixth.
"Our bats came around a little bit," Horrell said. "Here lately we've been losing a lot of runners on the bases and that's been costing us outs and runs. We lost one guy out there but, our guys picked him up and drove in a couple of runs after that.
"It was good to see 14 runs and get some run support for our pitchers."
The Woodpeckers didn't go down that easily, however, as they posted two runs in the bottom of the frame with RBI singles from Byron Reeves and Trey Watkins to extend the game to a full, seven-inning game -- something Bucher was proud of following their loss.
"We had a chance to be in it," he said. "We battled in the seventh and I'm pleased with that."
Nathan Holland, who has been Charleston's go-to hurler this season, held his own against a tough Chaffee lineup. Holland threw five innings while allowing six runs on nine hits.
"He usually comes out and battles even though sometimes he doesn't have his stuff," Bucher said. "He came out and threw the ball well. He didn't have his No. 1 stuff, he struggled, but he fought."
Helping Payne at the plate, Jared Walker finished his night with a 3 for 4 day including a double and two RBI while Nolan Urhahn also ended with three hits with one being a triple to plated two runs.
Charleston's five hits were collected from five different players. As a team, the Woodpeckers struck out 14 times.
"Other than that sixth inning, that was the best game we've played all year," Bucher said. "We stayed in the ball game and we didn't kick it around as much and stayed in the ball game."
Chaffee 130 205 3 -- 14 15 3
Charleston 001 002 0 -- 3 5 3
WP -- Connor Scott. LP -- Nathan Holland. 2B -- (CF) Cody Payne, Jared Walker. 3B -- (CF) Nolan Urhahn.
Jackson 3, Mineral Area 2
CHAFFEE -- The Jackson Senior Babe Ruth team defeated Mineral Area 3-2 in the first round of the state tournament at Chaffee on Thursday.
Jackson's Jesse Schott pitched the final four innings of the contest allowing one run on five hits while striking out four. Schott closed out the game in dramatic fashion, striking out the final batter of the game with runners on second and third to secure the win.
Clay Roth led Jackson with two hits.
Jackson third baseman Trent Steffens was hit in the nose on an unfortunate hope while taking infield before their game against Mineral Area began. He suffered a broken nose in two places and will likely be out for the remainder of the tournament.
The Woodpeckers will now play Mineral Area at 2:30 p.m. today. Chaffee will play Jackson (23-13) at 7:30 p.m.