Post 114 just misses trip to the championship round
ST. LOUIS - The Sikeston Senior American Legion Post 114 baseball team didn't advance to the championship round of the Anheuser Busch Tournament in St. Louis but the team came home with a 2-1 record over the holidays.
Sikeston defeated DeSoto 13-1 in five innings, held on to beat Litchfield (Ill.) 7-5 in eight innings and lost to Maryland Heights 6-1 to close out the tournament.
"We played three good ballclubs," said Sikeston head coach Charlie Dye. "We competed in each of the three games. It would've been nice to win the third one and get into the championship round and bring the trophy home. The kids played hard and we played good solid baseball."
In the first game, Sikeston beat DeSoto behind the strong pitching of Lance Rhodes and the hitting of Blake DeWitt.
Rhodes picked up the win, throwing all five innings and allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out seven.
"Lance threw an excellent ballgame and pretty well shut DeSoto down," said Dye.
DeWitt had his best offensive game of the year, going 4-for-4 with three home runs and seven RBIs. He also had a double.
Jacob Priday also had a huge day, going 3-4 with a homer and a double. He had two runs and an RBI.
"Jake and Blake both hit the ball well," said Dye. "Even in the third game they hit the ball hard but it was right at them. The first two games they really had monster games."
Nathan Eaves added a solo home run for Post 114.
Others were Adam Garrett (1-4, run), Drew Lawrence (1-1, 3 runs, 2B, 2 RBIs), Dustin Kelley (1-1, RBI), Andrew Lambert (1-2, run, RBI) and Scotty Keenan (run).
In the second game against Litchfield, Sikeston blew a 4-0 lead before pulling out the win in the top of the eighth inning.
Eaves' bases loaded double with one out plated two runs to give Post 114 a 6-4 lead. Rhodes added a sacrifice fly to add to the lead.
"That was a big hit and it put us in a position to advance," said Dye of Eaves. "We had contributions up and down the lineup in one form or another from everybody."
Keenan got the start and threw five shutout innings, allowing just three hits.
"He came in and threw five excellent innings for us and gave us a chance," said Dye of Keenan. "For no more than he's thrown he really did a fine job."
Garrett picked up the win in relief, throwing 2 1/3 innings. Rhodes faced two batters to pick up the save.
Sikeston built a 3-0 lead in the first when DeWitt plated a run with a triple and Kimball added a two-run homer.
Lambert's RBI-single in the fourth made it 4-0.
Hitters for Sikeston were DeWitt (3-4, r, 3B, RBI), Kimball (2-3, HR, 3 runs, 2 RBIs), Eaves (2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs), Priday (1-4, run), Rhodes (1-3, RBI) and Lambert (1-4, RBI).
"We swung the bats really well the first two ballgames up and down the lineup," said Dye.
In the third game, Maryland Heights pitcher Dave Wathen was too much for Post 114.
He pitched all seven innings, allowing just three hits. He struck out six and walked three.
"We just ran into a pitcher that was tough," said Dye. "You have to give him credit -- he just shut us down and we couldn't get anything going offensively."
DeWitt took the loss, throwing all seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
"They were the best team in our bracket and he threw well," said Dye. "What pitches he got up in the strike zone the kids from Maryland Heights didn't miss it. But he battled the whole time and did a nice job. They hit some good pitches."
Sikeston's hitters were Kimball (1-2, run), Rhodes (1-2, RBI) and Brad Deere (1-1).
"It was a successful trip even though we didn't bring home a trophy," said Dye. "The kids earned an awful lot of respect up there for being as young as we are. I had several coaches comment on how hard they played and how good they were for being that young. I was very pleased and proud of them for the way they hung in there and played."
Sikeston (14-5) will host Chaffee tomorrow at VFW Stadium in a district game at 6:30 p.m.