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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Happy to host: The advantage of being home team is worth effort

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sikeston assistant baseball coach Alan Scheeter waters down the basepaths.
SIKESTON - When it comes to hosting district championships, Sikeston says bring it on.

This week Sikeston is serving as the host for two district championship tournaments.

The first four district tournament games for Class 3 District 1 baseball were played Monday at VFW Stadium during which Sikeston advanced to the semi-

finals with a 5-3 victory over Fredericktown.

The Bulldogs soundly beat Kennett 9-1 in their semi-final match Tuesday to make it to the district championship game scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today.

The Class 1 District 1 girls soccer tournament started Saturday at the Sikeston Sports Complex with Sikeston first defeating Fredericktown to make it into the semi-finals where they upset top seed, St. Vincent, 1-0 after three overtimes Monday.

The Lady Bulldogs were disappointed in their championship game Tuesday, however, falling 3-0 to Notre Dame.

Sikeston has regularly hosted the district's tennis championships in recent years but this the first time for baseball since the late '90s and the first time ever for girls soccer which is still a relatively new sport for Sikeston.

"This is a little different than the norm," said Brent Keefer, athletic director for Sikeston Senior High School - especially since hosting baseball and soccer are a bit more involved than hosting tennis, he added.

Eight teams participated in the baseball tournament and five teams in the soccer districts.

Hosting district championship tournaments is more work and responsibility but it is definitely worth the extra effort, Keefer said. "It's fine - no problem at all," he said. "We would do it for every sport if we could do it here."

All the schools in the district are asked if they would like to host the district championships to form a list of schools interested. "It's put to a vote - area coaches vote on what site they would like," Keefer explained. "We do want to host as much as we can to provide every little advantage we can for our kids - every little bit helps. It always gives your kids an edge to play at home."

The host must get workers for the gate, the public address system and concessions but field preparation is really no different than the regular season, Keefer said: "We always want the field as good as we can get it for every contest." He said the community takes a lot of pride in its sports facilities.

While evening or Saturday mornings would probably bring in more spectators from out of town, the games are scheduled during the day for the players' sake, "to give them the same kind of playing conditions they had all year," Keefer said.

Organizing the tournament itself is where the extra effort is needed. It starts with getting information about each team from the coaches and athletic directors, Keefer said. That information is then compiled to come up with a ballot for seeding the teams that goes out to each of the participating teams' coaches. Seeding is based on the teams' records for the season taking into account common opponents and how each team did against them.

Once the ballots are voted by coaches, "you compile that and get your bracket together," Keefer said.

In baseball, the host also works with coaches to come up with the all-district team. "Teams bring their pick for the all-district team based on statistics from throughout the year," Keefer said. "That will be announced after sectionals."

Each of the coaches for the district tournament teams vote for five infielders, four outfielders, one catcher, one designated hitter and three pitchers.

After finishing the two district championships going on now, Keefer will next focus on the sectional tennis tournament which starts Saturday.

"My first year as athletic director has been real fun," Keefer said. "It's been a real good experience - a lot of learning."

Keefer said he has received a lot of help from other athletic directors in the area. "I appreciate all the help those guys offer me," he said.