(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
Sikeston's dream ended with a 5-1 loss to take second in the state.
With it being Sikeston's second loss in the tournament, the "if necessary" game became obsolete.
"Of course we're disappointed -- we wanted to win this game and we'd like to have taken another shot at them," said Sikeston coach Dave Strom. "Mineral Area is a great team and they'll be a fine representative of the state of Missouri. We're just proud to have a chance to play them. We're here to play ball, that's what we did and we gave them everything we've got."
Sikeston lost to Mineral Area on Saturday by a 16-6 margin.
"We knew they were going to be running on us and we were ready for them," said Strom. "We pitched out several times and threw out a couple kids. We held them in check to some degree.
"If you look at the scores between the two games you can see that we learned a lot from the first game and came back and had a good strategy against this team tonight."
Mineral Area still stole five bases, but they were caught twice.
The visitors jumped on top in the first inning when Jeff Wilfong singled home Brad Merseal.
Sikeston tied the game in the bottom of the first when Vince Howard doubled and scored on a Timmy Hart single.
Mineral Area grabbed the lead again in the fourth inning when Wilfong singled, stole second and scored on an error to take a 2-1 lead.
They extended the lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning with two more runs.
Jordan Thompson scored on a Matt Owens fielder's choice on a controversial play at the plate that left the Sikeston faithful irate.
Owens would eventually come around to score on an error.
Mineral Area tacked on one last run in the top of the seventh when Owens walked, stole second and scored on a double by Wilfong.
Caleb Davidson was the losing pitcher for Sikeston, throwing 6 1/3 innings.
He allowed five runs (three earned) off four hits. He walked four, hit two batters and struck out three.
Stuart Strom pitched the final 2/3 of an inning. He allowed one hit.
Hart and Zach Howard each had two hits for Sikeston. Vince Howard had one hit.
But Sikeston's 5-though-9 batters combined to go 0-for-13.
Sikeston had many scoring chances -- they stranded four runners and hit into two double plays -- as they couldn't muster much offense against the Mineral Area hurler, Merseal.
"He was throwing hard and throwing a lot of strikes," said Strom. "I wouldn't say that our hitters were off balance. He just pitched a good game. We hit a couple good long fly balls that they made some good plays on. We just couldn't get any momentum going, or any runners in position to get anything rolling at all."
Mineral Area's Wilfong collected three hits with two RBIs to lead all hitters.
Thompson and Torey Watson each had one hit.
"You always want to win first," said Strom. "I'm not going to say we're satisfied with second. We played hard, everybody gave 110 percent and I'm proud of these guys for winning the games they did."