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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Legion team getting done without the big three

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Heading into the weekend, Sikeston's Senior Legion team had posted an 11-7 mark.

The team started off slow, but has come on as of late to win six of their last seven. Post 114 even took second in the prestigious Anheuser Busch Tournament over Fourth of July weekend.

And all of this without arguably, not just the three best players on the team, but the three best in the area in Blake DeWitt, Jacob Priday and Lance Rhodes, who are playing for the St. Louis based Midwest All-Stars.

Not many people would've given Charlie Dye's legion team a chance without the three, but give him credit. He has patched together a pitching staff that doesn't dominate, but at least keeps the team within striking distance.

The team's offense has to be one of the best in the district and the team's defense is very solid.

How is the team winning?

Credit much of it to an influx of talent from area schools. The last few years Charleston and Dexter fielded legion teams which drastically shrunk the area Sikeston could draw from.

Neither town has a legion team this year which opened up the gates for Sikeston to bring in some new talent.

In addition to the Sikeston players on the team, Dexter High products Willie Dooley, Josh Miller and Mack Taylor, New Madrid County Central's Ben Pyles, Jeffrey Hunter, Jake Kimball and Ben Stricklin and Matt Smith, who graduated from Notre Dame this spring.

Dooley, Smith and Stricklin in particular have been the surprises. None played for Sikeston last year, but all have found a home. Dooley bats third and is the everyday shortstop, Smith plays catcher and bats cleanup, and Stricklin is probably the team's top pitcher.

Of course, to compete, getting the new players was necessary.

Sikeston High School just completed its football camp last week. The camp, which is designed for learning plays, formations and fundamentals, doesn't usually give much of a preview of what's in store for the season.

But it's usually enough to get my juices flowing for some football. To me, there is no better time of the year than the fall. That's when a whole week of preparation is laid on the line on Friday nights.

It's not often that you see a town in Southeast Missouri make news in a national publication. But in the June 10 edition of SI, Sikeston was mentioned in an article on golfer Chad Campbell, who was the coverboy of the magazine.

What's the Sikeston connection?

Campbell played on the Hooter's Tour that came through Sikeston from 1997-99. It was at the Bootheel Golf Club that Campbell recorded his first professional victory in 1997.

Now he is one of the brightest young prospects on the PGA Tour.

I actually met Campbell that year while working at the Hampton Inn, now the Days Inn. Little did I know then that I was talking to a future SI coverboy.

During my two-week vacation in Canada, I didn't realize at the time that I was staying in the same city where former Southeast Missouri State and NMCC standout Kelvin Anderson was playing football.

I knew "Earthquake" played in Calgary for several years before releasing him this summer. But I found out the day we left that he was picked up by the British Columbia Lions, which plays in Vancouver.

Anderson is well-respected in the Canadian Football League, where he along with the 49ers Jeff Garcia helped lead the Calgary Stampeders to the championship.

If you're a fan of Anderson or the CFL in general, maybe you should pack your bags and move to Canada. Every game is on TV.