Chaffee baseball team fails to dig out of early hole vs. Valle Catholic in district title game

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Chaffee pitcher Cody Payne prepares to throw to first base to retire a Valle Catholic batter during the Class 2 District 3 championship game Wednesday at Saxony Lutheran. (BRENT SHIPMAN ~ Sikeston Standard Democrat)

Chaffee loaded the bases with one out in the first inning and looked to have Valle Catholic starter Wayde Roth on the ropes Wednesday.

The Red Devils managed to push across one run on an error, but that was it.

Escaping the jam invigorated the Warriors.

Valle struck for four runs in the bottom of the first and never relinquished the lead on its way to a 6-3 victory to capture the Class 2 District 3 baseball championship at Saxony Lutheran.

"It got the momentum going our way and it set the tempo that we were going to fight the whole time," Valle senior Brett Shuh said about the first inning.

Chaffee (19-7) generated chances but left the bases loaded three times, including the seventh inning.

"That was really frustrating, to know we have such good hitters in our lineup," Chaffee freshman Cody Payne said. "We've been working on hitting all year and everyone's been doing good. A good team like Valle, you got to push across runs when you can."

The Red Devils tried to prepare to face strong pitching by scheduling a doubleheader against Notre Dame and Oak Ridge on May 11, a week before the district title game. Chaffee lost both games but got a chance to face Notre Dame's Cody Heisserer and Oak Ridge's Brett Thomas, two of the best pitchers in the region.

"I don't think facing good pitching will hurt you any day, no matter how many times you strike out," Chaffee junior Trevor Cannon said. "I think if we would have faced somebody that didn't throw as hard as those two did we wouldn't have been near as ready as we were."

Roth, who will play at Mineral Area College next season, struck out nine before being pulled after giving up two hits to start the seventh inning. The Red Devils managed five hits off the hard-throwing right-hander.

"Their pitcher is a great pitcher, don't get me wrong," Payne said about Roth. "But Heisserer and Thomas are by far better. I mean they both keep you off balance. This kid had a decent curveball, but his fastball wasn't overpowering as theirs. Them two, you had to look fastball or else they was going to blow it by you. This kid you could look other stuff and still catch up to fastball."

The Red Devils finally got to him in the seventh inning when Payne led off with a double and went to third on Jared Walker's single. Valle went to Nolan Carroe, who walked Cannon to load the bases with no outs.

But Carroe struck out Alex Davie before Andrew Terhune singled home Payne to cut the Red Devils' deficit to 6-3 with one out.

Carroe responded by striking out Alex Crowe and Jason Cicardi to end the game.

"[Tuesday] we come through with runners in scoring position," Chaffee coach Brian Horrell said. "Today the good news was we had runners in scoring position a lot but just couldn't get the big hit."

The Red Devils still were close to the Warriors (21-5) because of the relief pitching of Payne. Daniel Dooley started for Chaffee but left after two-thirds of an inning. He hit the first two batters he faced and allowed four runs before Horrell went to Payne, who silenced the Warriors' offense until the sixth inning.

"He had a lot of movement and he was working the outside corner," Shuh said. "We just weren't taking it to right field."

Payne struck out six before allowing two runs in the sixth inning to push Valle's lead to 6-2. He used a knuckleball and curveball to keep the Warriors flailing at pitches.

"Normally it's one or the other is working for me, the knuckleball or curveball," Payne said. "Today, being the district game, I guess the Lord blessed me with both of them to work."

Horrell credited Payne with giving the Red Devils an opportunity to pull it out late.

"He had his offspeed pitches working very, very well," Horrell said. "Keep them off balance and was able to mix in his fastball at the most opportune time. He did a great job battling, keeping them close all day to give us a chance to scratch and claw."

Chaffee1010001--360
Valle400002x--683

WP -- Wayde Roth. LP -- Daniel Dooley. 3B -- Luke Uding (V). 2B -- Cody Payne (C), Nolan Carrow (V), Thomas Hermann (V). Multiple hits -- Chaffee: Andrew Terhune 2-4, Jared Walker 2-4; Valle: Brett Shuh 2-4, Uding 2-3. Records -- Chaffee 19-7, Valle 21-5.

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