Cherokees enact run rule in victory

Friday, June 18, 2010
The Cherokees' Colton Young fields a grounder during the first inning of Thursday's game against the St. Louis Warriors in the SEMO Invitational tournament at Notre Dame Regional High School. The Cherokees won 12-2. (KRISTIN EBERTS ~ kebertssemissourian.com)

The SEMO Cherokees used a strong offensive performance to put an early end to their opening game at the SEMO Invitational on Thursday.

Matt Crader capped a four-run sixth inning with an RBI single to give the Cherokees 18-and-under team a 12-2 run-rule win over the Warriors Baseball 18-and-under team.

"I was just looking for a ball to put in play and end the game," Crader said. "Anything over the plate, I was going to hit up the middle. The outfield was in and so was the infield. I just wanted to put it in play."

Crader, a Jackson graduate, was one of five players with multiple hits for the Cherokees, including leadoff hitter Cody Livesay.

Livesay opened the game with a double and later scored on an RBI single by Notre Dame graduate Colton Young. Livesay finished with three hits, two runs and an RBI.

"Cody getting on base is critical for us," Cherokees coach Jamie Puckett said. "He's fast, so if he gets on first, he can usually steal second."

Young, Jordan Chamness and Shawn Crump also had more than one hit. All three scored two runs.

Chamness did the most damage for the Cherokees. After bunting into a double play in the first inning, he reached base in his next three at-bats. He walked, had a two-run double and a three-run home run that hit the left-field foul poll.

Every batter in the Cherokees lineup reached base at least once.

"I'm really excited about our offense," Puckett said. "Last weekend we didn't hit that well. We took a lot of swings at practice the next week. That's the way we can hit every game no matter who's pitching against us."

The Warriors had a runner reach base in each of the first five innings. Cherokees starter Ian Miller was replaced after giving up one run in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out the first two batters he faced and four batters on the day, but he walked six.

"I was disappointed in the start that we had," Puckett said. "We don't walk people because of the defense that we have. We tried to strike people out instead."

Jake Kinsinger finished the fourth inning for the Cherokees. He gave up an unearned run in the fifth after an error by Young.

James Naile pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

"Our relievers came in and did a good job," Puckett said. "They threw strikes and used the defense. That's all you need to do."

The Cherokees continue tournament play at 10 a.m. today against the SI Bombers and at 3 p.m. against the Southside Baseball Club. Both games will be played at Notre Dame.

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