(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- Riding a dominant start from Owen Flowers, the Dexter Bearcats picked up their second shutout in-a-row on Thursday against New Madrid County Central.
Locked in a pitching a duel with the Eagles' JaShawn McDaniel, Flowers got the benefit of a solo home run from leadoff hitter Daniel Fitts in the third as the Bearcats held on to win 1-0.
"Owen Flowers just threw a masterpiece right there," Dexter head coach Brian Becker said. "The first batter of the game, he got one up and the kid drove the ball pretty well. But after that he settled in and just threw an awesome ball game.
"Anytime you go to a high school baseball game and it's over in an hour and thirty minutes than you know it was a well played ball game."
Owens went all seven innings, giving up just four hits without surrendering a walk as he struck out six. Though he only sent the Eagles down in order twice, he didn't allow a NMCC runner to reach third all game.
Nearly as effective, McDaniel went the full seven innings giving up two hits with an intentional walk while fanning eight.
His only blemish came in the top of the third after two scoreless innings.
Fitts stepped to the plate with one out before drawing a 3-2 count. Connecting on McDaniel's next offering Fitts sent it over the left field fence to put Dexter up 1-0.
"Daniel worked the count to 3-2 and their pitcher came with a fastball," Becker said. "(McDaniel) got it up a little and Daniel drove it out of here. That turned out to be the game winner. I'm awfully proud of him for coming up with a big hit."
McDaniel went on to get a strikeout and a pop up to end the inning before pitching four more scoreless innings.
After NMCC stranded the potential tying run at second in the bottom of the frame,, Flowers limited their opportunities to only a pair of base runners in the final four innings.
Trying to take advantage of an error on the infield in the fifth, Josh Reed bunted CJ Chism over to second base for the second out of the inning. An ensuing strikeout, however, ended the potential rally.
In the bottom of the sixth, Gabe Smith put the tying tun at first by legging out an infield single before a fly out to centerfield ended the frame.
With the Eagles down to their final three outs in the seventh, Flowers got a pair of pop flies and a ground out to close out the game.
"We couldn't get the run across," NMCC head coach Joseph McClarty said. "(Flowers) had his breaking ball working real good today and we couldn't keep our hands back and stay inside the baseball and hit the ball to right field.
"That's just something we have to get better at and have struggled at that a little bit this year. The kids know it and we just going to keep working hard and we'll get better at it."
Though he gave up the lead in the third, McDaniel pitched a strong final four innings to keep his team in the game.
After sending Dexter down in order in the fourth and fifth innings, McDaniel made up for a pair of infield errors in the sixth and seventh to force the Bearcats to strand three runners.
"We hit a lot of at-them balls today," Becker said. "But their pitcher was tough. He had a little bit of trouble with his breaking ball at times, but then at times whenever he needed it he got it over. He pitched a heck of a ball game."
Outhitting Dexter 4-2, NMCC got a double from Jimmy Ash while McDaniel, Smith and Sam Barnett contributed a single each.
The Bearcats two hits included Fitts' home run and a single by Jordan Miller, who also drew the team's only walk.
Dexter improves to 9-3 on the season while NMCC falls to 5-2.
Dexter 001 000 0 - 1 2 2
NMCC 000 000 0 - 0 4 3
WP -- Owen Flowers. LP -- Jashawn McDaniel. 2B -- (N) Jimmy Ash. HR -- (D) Daniel Fitts.