(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- The floodgates opened for the Poplar Bluff Thunder.
Chaffee found themselves sunk shortly after.
Once holding a 7-2 lead, the Chaffee Honey Badgers watched their season take a hit Sunday as the Thunder poured out six runs in the bottom of the fourth to eventually take the lead and the game during the second round of the 2012 Missouri Senior Babe Ruth State Tournament at Hillhouse Park in Charleston.
"A lot of times when you have a big lead like that and the other team comes back to win, it's because you handed them the game," Chaffee head coach Aaron Horrell said. "They just crushed the ball. We didn't hand this one to them. They earned all their runs. Poplar Bluff is a very good team and they just flat out beat us today."
Chaffee, who defeated Arch City 14-1 in their first game Saturday, dropped to the loser's bracket. Poplar Bluff advanced to the semifinal round of the double elimination tournament but will have to wait to see who they play.
Because of rain Sunday evening, the scheduled game between Jackson and Boonville, who Poplar Bluff will play the winner of, has been rescheduled for today at noon. Because of the setback, Charleston and Chaffee will play their loser's bracket game at 5 p.m. while New Madrid and Kennett play their's at 2:30 p.m.
The Honey Badgers, who had 10 hits as a team, got started with a triple from their leadoff man, Christian Cavaness. He was pushed across just a batter later when Cody Payne hit a single to left field.
Chaffee put up three more runs in the top of the first instantly putting the pressure on the Thunder.
Poplar Bluff, who improved to 35-4, answered with one run in the bottom half and another in the second cutting the lead in half.
Chaffee, however, struck with another three runs in the top of the third inning making it 7-2.
"It was a great start for us," Horrell said. "You couldn't ask for a better start against probably the favorite of the tournament. You like to think you can hold on after that but it just wasn't our day."
It was in the top of the third inning when the Thunder had the unfortunate mishap of having one of their players suffer from heat exhaustion. A 45 minute delay was needed to get the Poplar Bluff player out of the dugout and into an ambulance.
It was later reported that the player's status improved.
Following the incident, Poplar Bluff was eventually able to get out of the inning and matched Chaffee with three runs to make it a 7-5 game.
Poplar Bluff held the Honey Badger's to no runs in the top of the fourth but unloaded with six runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
"We had every excuse to lay down after he went down," Null said. "But, we battled and found a way.
"I think more-so, it hurt (Chaffee)," Null said about the long delay. "They were on a roll and our kid played for them last year so they were concerned too. I think it took a little sting out of their step and they never could get the momentum back."
Lucas Tibbs, who finished 2 for 4, had the big hit of the inning clearing the bases with a three-run triple.
"He was just sitting on a fastball and he just got it," Null said. "It was a rocket and I think that refocused us as far as baseball. That got us right back in the game."
Poplar Bluff, who banged out 13 hits, was led by Charlie Kayser at the plate. Kayser went 3 for 3. Logan Faith added two hits while Drew Dowd and Coleton Powell each had a triple in the game as well.
"We hit the ball well," said Null. "We did a good job of staying within the zone, finding our pitches and hammering them."
Cavaness, who hit two triples, and Jared Walker each had two hits to pace the Honey Badgers. Payne and Conner Scott both had two RBI as well.
Jimmy Dickerson was tagged with the loss after 3 1/3 innings on the mound. He threw 68 pitches, had three walks and four strikeouts. He also gave up seven hits.
Chaffee 403 001 0 -- 8 10 4
P.B. 113 610 x -- 12 13 1
WP -- . LP -- Jimmy Dickerson. 3B -- (C) Christian Cavaness 2. (PB) Drew Dowd, Lucas Tibbs, Coleton Powell. Multiple hitters -- (C) Cavaness 2-4, Jared Walker 2-4. (PB) Charlie Kayser 3-3, Logan Faith 2-4, Tibbs 2-4.