Caruthersville ends Kelly's season

Thursday, May 27, 2004

BENTON, Mo. -- The Kelly Hawks never got airborne in an 8-5 sectional loss to Caruthersville on Wednesday.

Caruthersville (14-5), the Class 2 District 1 champion, jumped to an early lead and held on to eliminate Kelly (11-9) from the state baseball tournament.

"In one game, anything can happen," Kelly coach Cory Johnson said. "We came out a little flat and they took advantage of that early in the game."

Two first-inning Kelly errors were signs of things to come, as the usually reliable Hawks defense committed eight miscues on the day. Four Caruthersville runs were unearned.

Three hits, mingled with the costly fielding blunders, led to five first-inning runs, two unearned. With a 5-0 cushion, Caruthersville was well on the way to the school's first sectional win.

"To my knowledge, this is the farthest we've been since they started high school baseball in Caruthersville in the early '80s," said sixth-year coach Randy Malone. "I know they won a district championship in 1983."

Caruthersville tacked on a run in the third on Wes Pylate's RBI triple into left-center, which barely eluded a diving Kelly outfielder for the only extra-basehit of the game. The Tigers added two unearned runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 8-0.

Meanwhile, Tigers senior starter Matt Guy was cruising with a no-hitter through four innings.

After sophomore Russell Carroll finally led off the fifth with the Hawks' first hit, Kelly put across three runs. Kent Deason accepted a bases-loaded walk and sophomore Jon Simpher stroked a two-run single up the middle.

A suddenly struggling Guy, the winning pitcher, finished the inning but was relieved by Jonathan Haddon in the sixth. Guy went five innings and allowed three earned runs on two hits with six strikeouts and five walks. Haddon pitched two hitless innings for the save with two strikeouts and one walk.

Kelly made its last bid with two unearned runs in the top of the seventh, aided by two Caruthersville errors and a wild pitch.

Deason went the distance and was charged with four earned runs. He scattered 10 hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.

Said Johnson: "Everybody I talked to said they were going to hit the ball, and if you can field it, throw 'em out and play decent defense, you've got a chance to win the ballgame. The way we've been playing pretty well defensively, I thought, well, that's good, but it just didn't go our way today."

The Hawks were without senior pitcher Trey Simmons, who pitched a three-hitter in the district championship victory. Simmons was taking part in the senior class trip, according to Johnson.

For Kelly, with six sophomores, one freshman and two juniors starting, the future looks bright.

"I told the guys, 'We've just got to learn from this situation,' " added Johnson. "A lot of teams that are as young as we are aren't even in this situation. We're here and maybe, if we get back in it again, we'll feel more comfortable. We can only build from this."

Caruthersville meets East Carter County in the quarterfinal on Friday.

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