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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Dexter Junior Babe team headed to World Series

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Members of the Dexter Junior Babe Ruth All-Star team celebrate.
LAMAR, Col. -- Roll out the red carpet and plan a ticker tape parade because the boys of summer are coming home World Series bound.

The Dexter/Stoddard County All-Stars defeated Iowa City, Iowa, in the winner take all championship game at the Midwest Plains Regional in the Junior Babe Ruth 13-15 year old road to the World Series in a 6-3 final.

Assistant coach Aaron Pixley put it best when he said, "Our kids really battled the whole time and they deserve it. We feel fortunate to have won and are proud to go on to the World Series.

"The kids are ecstatic about it, but I don't know if its fully settled in yet. Regardless we feel that they will represent not only Dexter, but the state of Missouri well."

The win was Missouri's first in regulation during the regional portion of the tournament. Dexter went 5-1 in Colorado with their lone defeat coming by way of Iowa City in the first semi-final game.

Missouri then defeated Shoreview, Minn., 2-1 in eight inning to have another shot at the Iowa City Warriors in the finals - and would need a pair of wins over Iowa's representative to earn a trip to the World Series in Longview, Wash.

Dexter would do just that as they defeated Iowa 3-2 in eight innings on Tuesday and then defeated them 6-3 on Wednesday.

Iowa City would score right off the bat as a line drive to pitcher Alex Rigazio was knocked down, but he couldn't get to it in time as a runner on third scored.

"The first run they got on us - our kids know that one run isn't enough to beat us," Pixley noted. "It just took us a few innings to get going. We got our timing down on their pitcher and then we just drove the ball all over the park."

"We were never concerned over that one run," he continued. "The guys continuously battled back through the entire tournament."

Rigazio would then go on to throw four straight scoreless innings, but Dexter's offense continued to struggle as they were down 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth.

Fortunately for them, that's when the wheels came off for Iowa pitcher Jeff Saehler.

The fourth inning would be huge for the Dexter squad as they reeled off five runs in the inning.

"In the fourth our bats really came alive for us, and we did as good as we could," Pixley stated. "We really just held on from there."

Drew Pixley would be retired first on a fly to right field before Cole Smith would get beaned by the pitcher and then steal second during Kyle Cox's at bat.

Cox would be struck out but reached first on a passed ball while Smith advanced to third.

Rigazio would then help himself out from the batter's box. With men on the corners, he ripped an RBI double to left that saw Smith score and sent Cox to third.

Josh Stevens would then put Dexter out in from 3-1 when he ripped a two-run double.

Stevens would score when Iowa's third baseman overthrew first on a Thomas Espey grounder. Espey would advance to second. Dusty Barker recorded a RBI - knocking in Espey - on a long fly ball to left center.

Iowa City was held scoreless in the fourth and Dexter would come back to score their sixth and final run of the game.

Smith would reach base again on a double and then would later score on a Rigazio double.

After all the excitement at the plate, Rigazio seemed to be losing it on the mound as he got in a bases loaded jam with no outs and gave up a two run single.

Rigazio went to third base after giving up three runs in five innings of work.

"Rigazio threw a great game. He had thrown for us off and on all tourney, and for him to come in and throw the way he did helped a lot," Pixley said.

After facing five batters, head Coach Brian Becker called upon Josh Stevens - who had been solid then entire length of the regional - to close out the game.

The switch to Stevens paid immediate dividends as he struck out the first batter and then forced the next two into groundouts - getting out of the inning with no damage.

Missouri was unable to get anything going in the bottom of the sixth and was only three outs away from a trip to Washington heading to the top of the final inning.

With everything on the line, Stevens proved he was the real deal.

Stevens struck out Iowa's No. 9 hitter Derek Parker and then Jeff Pacha grounded out, putting one out between Missouri and the World Series.

What little hope Iowa could muster, Chris Maxwell gave it to them when he hit for a two-out double off of Stevens.

It didn't phase the Dexter pitcher as he went straight to work against Travis Gobush.

Three pitches and two swings later, Gobush went back to the dugout and Missouri rushed the field as Stevens recorded the three-pitch K.

"Stevens came in and struck out the first guy and that was huge," Pixley said. "They put in the a kid who had burnt us in the first game - and he grounded out. Stevens just slammed the door on them.

"Our defense played well and got the job done. That part of the game - from the fifth inning on - for a lot of teams could have went badly. We've been there before and we weren't surprised it happened."

With the win the team will head to Longview, Wash., for the World Series.

The team is slated to arrive Aug. 20 with pool play beginning on Aug. 21 followed by bracket play.

Members of the team and coaching staff will be arriving in Dexter beginning today and through the end of the week.