SIKESTON -- Jim Wilson set the standard in the 6-year-old league this year, winning the regular season championship and the year-end tournament.
"We had a real good season," said Jim Wilson coach Jason Erwin. "We started off a little better than the other teams, so we probably didn't show the improvement some of the other teams in the league did. But we did have some kids that struggled early. They did turn it on and they're kind of what picked it up when our big guns finally started to have their bad days."
Jim Wilson started the year off on fire, rolling over its first five opponents. The squad's mettle was tested in the sixth game of the season though by Discount Rental.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Discount Rental had the bases loaded with Jim Wilson holding a shaky one-run lead. At the plate was a very good hitter. On deck was an awesome hitter.
With two outs, the game appeared to be over when Jim Wilson's pitcher made a high throw to second base. But Colton Black made an amazing catch at second to end the game and secure the win for Jim Wilson.
"If that ball gets by him, more than likely (Discount Rental) scores the tying run and the next guy wins it for them," said Erwin. "We should've given Colten the game ball. If I had to do it all over again, he would have one. I've never seen a 6-year-old save a game, but it happened."
Jim Wilson continued to win games before Discount Rental came back to beat the powerhouse squad in the final game of the regular season.
Jim Wilson entered the year-end tournament with an 8-1 record.
"We started off unbeatable," said Erwin. "We did hit some vulnerable points, and I think a lot of it had to do with the other teams getting better defensively. We had one really close game that we almost lost, then in the last game of the regular season, Discount Rental finally got us."
The loss turned out to be a good thing, awaking the sleeping giant. Jim Wilson rolled to first place in the tournament, ending the season on a high note.
Colton Black played first base, Derrick Garner was at second, Caleb Hampton played short and Aaron Neal was at third. Austin Erwin was on the pitcher's mound and Scott Culter played catcher.
The outfielders were Andrea Burks, Seth Williams, Derin Hoskins, Dilan Rucker, Jordan Condict and Dylan Manes. Erwin, Black, Garner and Hampton were all named to the all-star team.
"We had a good draft, and we had some kids on the bottom that kept trying hard even when they struggled," said Erwin. "There were two keys to our season. Our big guns took care early and we pretty much dominated. Then when the big guns started struggling, the bottom of the lineup picked them up. It just kind of worked for us."
Members of the 2002 Jim Wilson team in the 6-year-old League of Sikeston Area Youth Baseball are Colton Black, Austin Erwin, Andrea Burks, Jordan Condict, Derin Hoskins, Dilan Rucker, Caleb Hampton, Seth Williams, Aaron Neal, Dylan Manes, Scott Culter and Derrick Garner. The team was coached by Jason Erwin and Philip Black.