(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CHAFFEE -- Chaffee's Jared Walker knew exactly what pitch was coming.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Walker got what he was expecting and broke open a pitcher's duel as he pushed across the eventual game-winning runs Thursday helping the Red Devils down their rival, Scott City, 5-1 at Harmon Field in Chaffee.
Chaffee starter Alex Crowe threw the complete game victory giving up one run on four hits and striking out three.
It was the third time Walker had faced Scott City's starting pitcher, Landon Robert, being hit by a pitch his first time up and striking out during his previous plate appearance.
After seeing Robert's arsenal, and knowing he was in a big spot, Walker guessed and ended up guessing right.
Walker took a first pitch, hanging curve ball from Robert into right-centerfield to plate both Cody Johnson and Cody Payne to score the game's first runs.
"He had threw me a curveball first pitch the first two times up," said Walker. "I was expecting that and that's what I got. He kind of left it hanging on the outside corner. That's where I like them."
Before Walker's momentum shifting hit, Chaffee had stranded five base runners -- three in scoring position -- in the previous four innings.
Scott City starter Landon Robert could be blamed for Chaffee's inability to capitalize on run scoring opportunities.
"We kind of got off to a shaky start hitting at first," Walker said. "We weren't really thinking, we were just out there wanting to get that big hit."
"We had some opportunities with the right people that we had at the plate, but we just couldn't come through early," Chaffee head coach Brian Horrell said. "You have to tip your hat to (Robert). Fortunately, we were able to break through and give us some breathing room."
For four innings, both Crowe and Robert exchanged putting zeros on the scoreboard.
Robert allowed three hits, one walk and a hit batter while Crowe left four on the base paths for Scott City.
"Alex didn't make very many starts for us last season, but this year he's been a starter for us a few times," Horrell said. "It was really impressive to see him go the distance. He was pretty much in charge the whole day."
Crowe was backed up by a stellar performance from the defense behind him who erased runners with two double plays and making the right plays when it mattered most.
"The defense had a couple key double plays to get me out of some innings," said Crowe. "Anytime your defense makes a good play for you it takes a load off."
Johnson led off the fifth with a walk which was followed by back to back hits from Payne and Daniel Dooley. Walker came strolling to the plate next.
"Earlier in the game, we had those guys up and they just weren't able to come through," Horrell said. "But, finally, we kept getting opportunities. We were finally able to cash in on one."
Walker's hit signaled the end of Robert's day on the mound. Scott City's starter through four innings and gave up three runs on six hits. He also struck out five and walked two.
"After a few innings went by, we started trusting ourselves at the plate and it started happening," Walker said. "(Robert) is a great pitcher and he was moving the ball around and keeping us off balance. We just finally connected."
A two-out, bases loaded walk to Layton Tenkhoff pushed Chaffee's third run across in the fifth inning.
"That just kind of gave us all confidence, especially me," Crowe said about Chaffee's fifth inning. "Pitching with a lead is a lot easier."
Faced with a 3-0 deficit, Scott City answered by getting one of those runs back in the top of the sixth.
Robert began the inning with a leadoff single. Brett Dirnberger followed with a single to right field that got behind Chaffee's right fielder. Robert scored on the error and Dirnberger raced to third on the play.
Crowe, however, coaxed two flyouts to end the inning without any further damage.
"It was a well played ball game. You just have to tip your hat to Chaffee," Scott City head coach Lance Amick said. "They got the hits when they needed to and put together the rallies they needed to. (Crowe) pitched well all day long too.
"In this game in particular, it came down to a couple of walks and a few hits. That's baseball."
Chaffee scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth all with two outs.
Dooley worked a walk while Walker added his second hit of the day giving designated hitter, Trevor Cannon a chance to add to their lead.
With two strikes and the runners taking off, Cannon laced a double into left centerfield that scored both Dooley and Walker.
"That whole rally started with two outs and nobody on," Horrell said. "I was hoping to get a little more breathing room that way Alex could have a bigger leash in the seventh. I was very glad to see us battle and scratch out those runs."
Payne, Dooley, Walker and Cannon combined for all of Chaffee's eight hits. Each had two with Cannon adding a double.
Scott City had four hits as a team.
"We don't feel like we lost the ball game coming out of this one," Amick said. "We feel like Chaffee beat us and you just have to tip your hat to them."
Scott City 000 001 0 -- 1 4 0
Chaffee 000 032 x -- 5 8 1
WP -- Alex Crowe. LP -- Landon Robert. 2B -- (C) Trevor Cannon. Multiple hitters -- (C) Cody Payne 2-4, Daniel Dooley 2-3, Jared Walker 2-3, Cannon 2-3.