All-Star team is one win from reaching Cal Ripken World Series
BOONVILLE -- The Sikeston 12-year-old all-stars advanced to the championship game in the Cal Ripken Midwest Plains Regional in Boonville.
Sikeston held off Southeast Denver (Co.) 6-2 on Monday to reach the championship behind a strong pitching performance by Garrett Limbaugh.
Sikeston is now one win shy from going to the World Series. Southeast Denver will play Kansas today at 5:30 p.m. in the loser's bracket finals. Kansas defeated Nebraska 13-6 in the late game Monday night. The winner of that game will then play Sikeston at 8 p.m.
If Sikeston loses tonight at 8 p.m. then the tournament will move to the "if necessary" game on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"We're really thinking that if we play a good game defensively and get a hit here and there then we can pull it off," said Sikeston manager Terry Lambert. "We just need to win one out of two, but I think we can do it because the boys are focused."
On Monday, Limbaugh pitched all six innings, allowing two runs while scattering seven hits. He struck out nine batters.
"It was typical Garrett Limbaugh," said Lambert. "When he has to get a strikeout it seems like it just turns it up five miles per hour and gets it done. He's always ready. If somebody makes an error behind him, he shakes it off and focuses and gets it done."
Sikeston fell behind 1-0 early but quickly tied the score. Nick Lambert gave Sikeston the lead for good with a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hunter Dillender bunted for a single, but a throwing error allowed two runs to score to give Sikeston a 4-1 lead.
Josh Pierce followed with a run-scoring triple to make it 5-1. Pierce then scored on a passed ball to lead 6-1.
Limbaugh gave up a run in the top of the sixth but struck out the final two batters to end the game.
Sikeston defeated Brooklyn Area, Minn., 6-5 in the first round and defeated Iowa City, Ia., 7-4 in the second round. Against Iowa, Lambert had a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth.
Timmy Bell was the winning pitcher while Lambert picked up the save.
Tyler Ramey was the winning pitcher against Minnesota in the first round.
"It's very exciting to see these boys come up and play the way they have," said Lambert. "They don't back down to anybody. They've been playing together and playing as a team."