(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- With a chance to end their home schedule on a high note the Scott County Central Braves were unable to keep up with a Charleston offense that loaded the bases in five separate innings on Wednesday.
After taking the lead with a five-run, second-inning-rally the Bluejays were able to hold on for a 15-7 final that gave Charleston its first back-to-back wins of the season.
"Anytime you score 15 runs you did something right," Charleston head coach Michael Minner said. "But we had the ultimate insult in baseball where you load the bases and then strikeout, strikeout, strikeout (in the first inning).
"We just have to keep battling and I'm going to keep teaching the game the way that I know it should be played. It's going to pay off in the end."
Coming off a 13-3 win over Advance on Tuesday, Charleston (4-16) looked like they may break the game open in the top of the first as its first three batters reached to load the bases. Preventing any damage, however, the Braves' (3-12) starting pitcher Nathan Holland proceeded to collect three straight strikeouts to end the inning unscathed.
Though Scott Central was able to take advantage of the Bluejays misfortune to grab a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame, Charleston once again packed the base paths in the second frame.
Making up for lost time the Bluejays tied the game on a bases-loaded walk before a fielder's choice from Michael Baugh gave Charleston its first lead of the afternoon.
With runners on second and third, D.J. Adams capped the rally with a ball hit to deep center field that found its way over the center fielder's head and all the way to the fence. Speeding around the bags Adams was able to beat a throw at the plate for an inside-the-park home run to put his team up 5-1.
In rallying for two runs in three of the next four innings the Bluejays continued to add to their lead before a four-run seventh inning effectively sealed the game when it put Charleston up 15-4.
Down to their last three outs the Braves put runners on second and third before a balk brought home the first run of their half of the seventh inning. Loading the bases the Braves went on to scored once again on a dropped fly ball to leave the bases loaded.
Unfortunately for the Braves, just when it looked like they had some hope for a comeback, a pickoff throw to first allowed the Bluejays to secure the final out and the win.
"Hitting wise we're coming along way," Scott Central head coach Matt Limbaugh said. "From hardly ever putting the ball in play to at least we're putting the ball in play now and making things happen, making the defense make plays.
"That was the story today, Charleston made more plays than us today and they got the key hits when they needed to with runners in scoring position."
Outhitting Scott Central 9-7, the Bluejays' attack was led by Corey Adams and Ryan Houseman who each went 2 for 4. Adams drove in three runs while scoring twice and Houseman crossed the plate once.
Charleston also had the advantage of collecting 11 walks on the game.
For the Braves Tyler Masters and Steven Minner each had two hits on the contest, including a double by Masters as he scored three runs on the contest.
Working out of his share of jams, Charleston starter Chance Maness picked up the win. He went 6 1/3 innings and surrendered all seven runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six.
"Chance threw the ball well today," Michael Minner said. "If we didn't make (some) errors behind him he probably gets out of there throwing about 65 pitches. He winds up getting to 100 pitches instead because of our inefficiency on defense.
"I thought his demeanor was better and that's two days in a row. He came in yesterday and shut it down at the end of the ball game to finish out against Advance. That's a real bonus the way he threw the baseball."
Charleston 052 022 4 - 15 9 5
Scott Central 101 021 2 - 7 7 4
WP -- Chance Maness. LP -- Nathan Holland. Multiple hitters: (C) Corey Adams 2-4, Ryan Houseman 2-4; (S) Tyler Masters 2-4, Steven Minner 2-4. 2B -- (S) Masters. 3B -- (S) Holland. HR -- (C) D.J. Adams.