Post 114 falls to Jackson 5-2; rebounds to eliminate Dunklin County in 10 innings
JACKSON - Sikeston Senior American Legion Post 114's hopes for a district championship were dealt a severe blow on Friday night when they lost to Jackson 5-2 in a second round game of the District 14 Tournament at Legion Park.
Sikeston was forced to play another game late Friday night against second-seeded Dunklin County, who eliminated top-seeded Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons earlier in the day.
Post 114 (18-10), seeded third, stayed alive with a thrilling 7-5, 10-inning victory to upset Dunklin County in a game that finally came to an end shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday morning.
Matt Smith provided the game-winning hit, a two-run single in the top of the 10th. Ben Walters was the winning pitcher in relief. Further details from the game were not available at press time.
"That took a lot of guts to come back after losing that first one to Jackson," said Sikeston coach Charlie Dye. "The lead changed hands three or four times. Matt Smith came up with a big hit for us in the 10th inning to drive in two. That's what you play for. The kids showed a lot of heart coming back after that first one. They sucked it up against a real good Dunklin County team."
Sikeston was scheduled to play Jackson in the championship game on Saturday. Post 114 would need to win two games against Jackson to claim the title.
Results from that game will be in Monday's edition.
Against Jackson, it was a pitcher's duel with neither team scoring through the first six innings.
But Jackson (24-12) took advantage of some Post 114 miscues in the field to plate three runs in the top of the seventh. Sikeston had scoring opportunities but couldn't come up with the timely hits. Post 114 stranded 11 runners in the game.
Jackson hurler Josh Snell was virtually unhittable for most of the night before leaving in the seventh.
He picked up the win with 6 2/3 innings thrown. He struck out three, walked four and allowed just four hits.
"He was outstanding," said Jackson coach Mark Lewis. "That's the best game he's pitched since he's been with me. He's done a great job with me for three years, but by far that's his best game. And it was in a big spot too. Our number two kid went out of town and he stepped up and had a helluva game."
Snell's performance overshadowed an equally tough outing by Sikeston hurler Josh Miller, who took the loss in eight innings of work.
"Josh Miller pitched a heck of a ballgame," said Dye. "He gave us a chance. Our bats were silent for too long. We just couldn't summon them up to pull it out at the end. We had our chances. Sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn't. This game it did not bounce our way."
Miller allowed seven hits and four walks with four strikeouts. One of his three runs allowed was unearned.
After the two teams battled to a 0-0 tie through the first six innings, Jackson jumped on the board when Brandon Gendron had a two-out, two-run triple to centerfield.
The ball appeared to be a tall flyball and a routine out, but centerfielder Brandon Crook lost the ball in the night sky and it fell near the fence to clear the bases.
"We were fortunate to get those runs," said Lewis. "If he catches that ball in center then it's a different game. But it's high school ball. That stuff happens. We took advantage of it."
Gendron eventually scored on the next play when third baseman Richard Landers made a throwing error to first base on a Tony Longman ground ball to make it 3-0.
Sikeston scored one run in the bottom of the seventh when Jordan Kimball led off with a double, advanced to third on an error, and scored on a wild pitch.
Sikeston still had runners on the corners but relief pitcher Gendron was able to get Lance Rhodes to strike out swinging to end the threat.
Post 114 (17-10) closed the gap to 3-2 on a solo home run by Tyler Stahl over the left field fence in the bottom of the eighth.
With Ross Merideth on the hill for Sikeston in the ninth inning, Jackson put some cushion on their lead when Jason Meystedt struck out, but reached first base when the ball got away from catcher Matt Smith.
Meystedt ended up scoring on a wild pitch. Tyler Profilet scored the second run of the inning on a fielder's choice by Trevor Thompson on a bang-bang play at the plate.
Sikeston put together one last rally in the bottom of the ninth inning as J.R. Bizzell singled and Landers walked to lead off the inning. Brad Deere then hit into a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners. A Drew Lawrence walk loaded the bases with one out for Rhodes, but he hit into a game-ending double play.
Gendron picked up the save in 2 1/2 innings of work. He allowed one run off two hits with two walks and a strikeout.
But the story of the game was the pitching of Snell.
"You have to give credit to their pitcher," said Dye. "He shut us down and kept his team in the ballgame. When we did decide to start swinging the bats we couldn't get the hit when we needed it to break the game open or put some runs on the board. He was throwing it up there and we were swinging at it. We were hitting it, but not with any authority. We were probably too aggressive with him and not making him bring it to us."