Chaffee Senior Babe Ruth subdues Jackson in opener, Jackson wins nightcap

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Jackson baserunner Trent Steffens slides safely into second in front of Chaffee's Cody Johnson during the first inning of their first game Tuesday in Chaffee, Mo. (Laura Simon)

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The second inning of Tuesday night's opening game between the Chaffee and Jackson Senior Babe Ruth baseball teams brought a scoring opportunity for both teams.

Jackson missed out on its chance in the top of the inning, while Chaffee got all the offense starter Connor Scott needed in the bottom half on its way to a 2-0 victory in the opening game of a doubleheader. Jackson won the nightcap 9-2 in 10 innings.

"I just throw a lot of strikes and let my defense pick me up," said Scott, who struck out three during his shutout performance. "I think I only ended up with maybe two, three strikeouts, so my defense helped me out a lot."

Chaffee left fielder Greg Davis made what likely was a run-saving diving catch with one out in the top of the second. There were no runners on base at the time, but the next two batters followed with hits before a fielder's choice ended the half inning.

"It's awesome," Scott said about his team's defense. "It's relieving, really stress-relieving to just go up there and throw your game, especially when you see a play early in the game by the left fielder laying out making a play. I mean, that could save a run, maybe two, depending on how the inning goes."

Chaffee Senior Babe Ruth's Conner Scott pitches to a Jackson player in the first inning Tuesday, July 5, 2011 in Chaffee. Chaffee won 2-0. (Laura Simon)

Shortstop Jared Walker led off the bottom half of the second with a double. That was followed by an RBI single from Nolan Urhahn, who later scored on Alex Davie's hit.

"Our defense has been lacking a little bit, but usually you can tell how a game goes when the time of the game was short like that," Chaffee coach Aaron Horrell said. "I think it was only an hour and 20 minute game. There was great defense on both sides."

Scott, who missed Chaffee's games last week, allowed just one hit over the next four innings and retired Jackson with remarkable expediency in the fifth and sixth inning.

"With him not throwing as much here in the last couple weeks, I wanted to make sure his arm was OK," Horrell said. "Actually, in the fifth inning I asked him, I said 'How is your arm feeling?'

"He said, 'Oh, I'm good. I only threw like five pitches that inning.'"

Jackson's Matt Stueve takes a hack during the second inning of Tuesday's first game in Chaffee, Mo. (Laura Simon)

But Scott would end up facing his biggest challenge in the top of the seventh.

Jackson got three hits in the inning -- it had gathered four combined during the first six innings -- but couldn't push across a run.

"Every ball we hit in the seventh inning was a shot, too," Jackson coach Paul Sander said. "We led off the inning, Spencer [Sander] hit a rope out to center field then we hit two or three more ropes. Some of them got down, some of them didn't, but that's the way the game's played and that's what happens."

Horrell said he considered making a pitching change in the inning but decided against it.

"It was his game to lose," Horrell said. "He had a shutout going, and I didn't want to take him out. I wanted to give him a chance to get the complete-game shutout."

Chaffee outfielder Greg Davis makes a catch to retire a Jackson batter during the second inning Tuesday.

Jesse Long pitched the first four innings for Jackson, giving up two runs on five hits, before yielding to Matt Stueve, typically a Jackson starter who was making his return from a stress fracture in his leg.

Jackson needed three extra innings to claim a 9-2 win in the nightcap.

Spencer Sander's three-run double in the top of the 10th helped his team take the lead. Trent Steffens, Jesse Schott and Tyler Morris all added RBI singles in the inning.

Alex Beussink pitched five scoreless innings in relief to get the win for Jackson.

The split moved Jackson's record to 18-12 overall and 5-8 in league play.

"We're a team all year that's battled for consistency, and we're still struggling for that," coach Sander said after the opening-game loss. "Even though we're 17-12, at one time we were 9-9. We still battle with playing two good games in a row, and hopefully by the time the state tournament rolls around we will. If we don't, we won't make it very far."

Chaffee, which will host the state tournament beginning July 14, is 26-6 overall and 10-2 in league play.

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