SIKESTON - The Sikeston Senior Legion Post 114 baseball team eliminated Jackson on Friday 23-17 to advance to the championship game of the District 14 Tournament at VFW Stadium.
Results from Saturday's championship with top-seeded Dunklin County were not available at press time.
It's Sikeston's first championship game appearance in recent memory. No. 2 seeded Sikeston needed two victories against Dunklin County to win the tournament. With an undefeated record in the tournament, Dunklin County needed only one win to claim the title.
"That's what you shoot for, to get an opportunity to win your district tournament at the start of the year," said Sikeston head coach Charlie Dye after Friday's game. "The kids have played well all year long, there's no doubt about it. They deserve to be in this position."
Friday's game was even more wild than Thursday's 17-16 loss to Dunklin County.
Post 114 (19-8) issued 17 walks in the game, but was able to pull out the win with superior offense and defense.
Sikeston pounded out 18 hits including four home runs. Jackson had 13 hits, but committed seven errors on the night.
"It was just who could outscore the other team," said Dye. "It was just survival, who can put the most runs up and keep putting them up. Fortunately we've got some kids that can hit the ball. We put some numbers up and luckily tonight it was good enough."
Building leads of 21-8 after five innings and 23-12 after six, it appeared Sikeston would enforce the 10-run mercy rule.
But Jackson put together just enough runs, scoring four in the seventh and one in the eighth, to extend the game the full nine innings.
"Jackson didn't quit," said Dye. "When you get down 13 or 14 runs, a lot times you can pack it in and a lot of teams do. That bunch right there from Jackson doesn't. They kept coming and kept battling and you have to tip your hat to them."
Post 114 also made the most of their opportunities, stranding only eight base runners to Jackson's 14.
"Sikeston's a talented team with a lot of great hitters," said Jackson head coach Mark Lewis. "They swing the bats really well."
Jackson went through six pitchers on the night while Sikeston used four.
Sikeston's Jake Kimball picked up the win despite allowing seven runs (six earned) through three innings of work, including 10 walks.
Jason Owen took the loss in relief for Jackson, throwing 1 1/3 innings and allowing two runs off three hits.
Jackson (21-18) led 3-0 after the top half of the first inning, but Sikeston responded with four runs in the home half, highlighted by Mark Adam Wade's two-run home run over the right field fence.
Jackson took a 6-4 lead after 1 1/2 innings, but again Post 114 recaptured the lead with three more runs led by Blake DeWitt's two-run double.
After Jackson tied the score at 7-7, Sikeston plated two more runs in the bottom of the third on Andrew Lambert's two-run homer.
Sikeston plated eight runs in the bottom of the fourth to blow the game open. Jacob Priday had a bases clearing double in the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lance Rhodes had a solo homer and Nathan Eaves blasted a three-run shot.
Both home runs ricocheted off light poles on the other side of the left field fence.
Scotty Keenan had the best night on the mound for Post 114, retiring six straight batters in two innings of work to close out the game.
Post 114 was led by DeWitt's 5-for-6 day at the plate, including four runs and three RBIs.
Eaves and Lambert each went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Priday also had four RBIs.
Michael Birk led Jackson with three hits and four RBIs. Josh Van de Ven also had three hits.
"It was a great effort, no doubt about it," Lewis said. "We missed some chances early and we just came up a little bit short."