(David Jenkins, Staff)
Playing as hosts this time around, the Squirrels kept to their word as they pulled out a close 7-6 win on Friday night against Coffeyville, Kan., behind a strong pitching performance from starter Dalton Woodard.
"We came out and jumped on them early," Charleston head coach Michael Minner said. "We told the guys, it doesn't matter how we win at this point.
"This group wants to win bad. We pulled for each other."
Charleston's win didn't come without a fight from Coffeyville, however.
Up by five runs and looking to escape with a comfy win, the Squirrel's encountered a rally from Coffeyville that saw the Kan., runner-ups storm back in the sixth inning.
Ryan Redington opened the scoring with an RBI single that scored Dustin Hurlbutt from third. Later in the inning, Coffeyville loaded the bases for Lucas Lindesmith who provided them with a bases-clearing double to deep right-centerfield.
Although he was rolling until that point, Lindesmith's two-out double chased Woodard from the mound giving way to Ryan Moses.
Woodard, from Naylor High School, sat down the first seven batters he saw and allowed his first baserunner in the third inning. He went 5 2/3 innings and gave up five earned runs on five hits. He also struck out 11.
"Woody (Woodard) was on early," Minner said. "He threw a lot of his pitches for strikes and he carried us early on."
Moses got out of the inning directly following Lindesmith's hit with a pop fly to first.
After the Squirrels failed to added insurance runs in their half of the sixth, Coffeyville's Cory Turner opened the seventh inning with a leadoff double putting immediate pressure on the Missouri state champs.
Moses coaxed a fly-out to the next batter but was lifted for Jonathan Boone, who was given the ball to close the game out.
Boone struck out the first batter he faced and then got Nash Nelson to hit a fly ball directly to Charleston right fielder, Danny McKinney, to end the game.
Woodard allowed his first run in the fourth inning when Kyle Nitz scored on a ground ball out off the bat of Nelson.
By that time, however, the Squirrels had already given Woodard four runs to play with.
Marshall Stallings, who led the Squirrels with two hits and three runs scored, and Seth Childers scored Charleston's first two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Bobby Clark hit a sacrifice fly that scored Stallings while Childers scored on a Coffeyville error.
Charleston scored twice more in the second highlighted by a picture-perfect hit and run by Bryan Freed and Stallings.
Freed, who had reached earlier in the inning on a walk, was pushed over to third when Stallings hit a ball into a vacant second baseman spot which Freed created by going with the pitch.
Freed was later scored by Childers' RBI single and Stallings came home on a balk by Coffeyville pitcher Hurlbutt.
After the Squirrels scored two more in the bottom of the fourth, their most important run came in the fifth inning.
Unbeknown at the time, a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter, Mikey Russell, who was scheduled to have the night off because of his upcoming pitching duties on Saturday, moved Freed over to second setting up the Squirrels with a runner in scoring position and the top of their lineup ready to hit.
Stallings made sure Russell's efforts didn't go unrewarded as he hit a double down the right field line that scored Freed from second. It turned out to be the winning run.
"That was the biggest run to me," Minner said. "It was 6-2 and we bunt with Mikey then Marshall comes in a gets a big hit. You can't hit a five-run home run and it came to that point.
"We hung on tonight."
Although the Squirrels ended up with just four hits, they took advantage of 10 walks that were given to them by Coffeyville.
"We didn't swing them like we wanted to," Minner said, "but our pitching was good enough and we scored enough runs to take advantage and hold them off."
The Squirrels moved on to the winner's bracket to face the Minnetonka, Minn., Mudhens on Saturday. The winning team will play today at 4 p.m. while the loser moves to a 1 p.m. game in the loser's bracket.
Chaffee 7, Colorado 3
CHARLESTON -- The Chaffee Squids opened the first round of the 2011 Midwest Plains Regional Senior Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament with a 7-3 win over Colorado East Central on Friday at Hillhouse Park in Charleston.
"It's always a big win when you can get it done in the first round," Chaffee coach Aaron Horrell said. "When you go to the loser's bracket, you have to win a lot more games and with pitching, sometimes that wears out in that many games. It was big."
Going into the bottom of the fifth inning tied at three runs apiece, Squids starting pitcher Connor Scott gave his team and himself the eventual winning run after a sacrifice fly scored Cody Payne from third.
"Sometimes it doesn't take a big base-clearing double," Chaffee coach Aaron Horrell said. "Sometimes it's just fundamental baseball like a fly ball to the outfield that will do it for you. Connor had a big at-bat there driving the run in and giving us the lead."
Although Scott never returned to the field after that at-bat, he still earned the win after five innings of pitching.
Chaffee reliever, Blake Keasler finished out the remaining two innings to close out Chaffee's win.
"(Scott) threw a heck of a game," Horrell said. "There in the fifth they got a little rally going and you could tell he was wearing out. Blake (Keasler) came in and pitched well."
Chaffee added three more runs to insure the victory. Alex Davie scored on an infield error by Colorado, Trevor Cannon touched home following a single by Jared Walker and Keasler drove in Payne on another single all in the sixth inning.
"We didn't crush the ball today but we had timely hits and moved runners over," Horrell said.
Chaffee, who is representing Missouri after finishing second in the state tournament last week, played the defending Regional champions from last year, Ottumwa, Iowa, on Saturday in the winner's bracket. The winner will play today at 4 p.m. while the loser drops to the loser's bracket at 10 a.m. on Sunday as well.
Ottumwa defeated Fargo, North Dakota 9-1 in the first game on Friday. Minnetonka took care of Columbus, Kan.