SIKESTON -- The Lions successfully defended the National League championship this season, winning the regular season title and the year-end tournament.
With just one loss on the year, it was another season to remember for the Sikeston Area Youth Baseball powerhouse. The team is the first No. 1 seed to ever win the National League tourney since its inception.
The Lions won the event last year as a No. 3 seed.
"It wasn't coaching or anything -- we were picked to win and we did," said Lions coach Jeff Limbaugh. "We had the best team. We were pretty good for a (recreational) league team."
The Lions had arguably the top two pitchers in the league with Garrett Limbaugh and Timmy Bell. The squad also had Vince Howard III available to pitch, another one of the league's most dominant arms.
"We threw 2-2-2 every game," explained Limbaugh. "We would throw Garrett for two innings, Timmy for two and Vince for two. That's how we played it. A lot of teams didn't have that luxury."
Other quality players on the team were catcher Mark Fraser and first baseman Caleb Davidson.
When not on the mound, Howard was at second base, while either Limbaugh or Bell was at shortstop. Ben Sells played third base.
"Ben Sells came through for us," said Limbaugh. "He's just 11-years-old, and he hit the ball well. I was surprised with the way he played."
The outfield consisted of Brandon Sauceda in left, Julius Hatcher in center and Seth Griffen in right. Alex Mayes was an extra-hitter.
Limbaugh, Bell and Howard were all named first team all-stars. Fraser and Davidson were placed on the second team.
The Lions' only loss came by one run in the middle of the season to the commissioner's team -- American Legion. Other than that, the squad had no trouble rolling to uncontested victories all year.
Members of the 2002 Lions team in the National League of Sikeston Area Youth Baseball are Garrett Limbaugh, Timmy Bell, Vince Howard III, Mark Fraser, Caleb Davidson, Julius Hatcher, Seth Griffen, Ben Sells, Alex Mayes and Brandon Sauceda. The team was coached by Jeff Limbaugh, Vince Howard and Tim Bell.