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Sunday, Sep. 14, 2014

Post 114 falls to Anheuser-Busch

Sunday, August 1, 2004

(Photo)
Sikeston Legion Post 114's Drew Lawrence slides into second.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Senior American Legion Post 114 baseball team suffered a tough loss on Friday night at the hands of Anheuser-Busch out of St. Louis in the Zone 4 Tournament at VFW Stadium.

Post 114 simply couldn't muster any offense against A-B as they brew-makers defeated Sikeston 3-1.

Sikeston played Brentwood late in Friday night but results were not available at press time.

Against A-B, Sikeston (21-11) had numerous opportunities to score runs but never could come up with the timely hits against hurler Eric Kuntz, who defeated Post 114 in June 12-2.

Kuntz was credited with nine full innings other than three batters that Ronnie Martin, who started the ninth in relief, failed to retire. Kuntz reentered and was able to get out of a no out, bases loaded jam by giving up just one run. He got Brandon Crook to bounce back to the pitcher as Kuntz ran the ball to first base for the unassisted out.

"He beat Sikeston earlier in the year and I shut him down for a while to rest him for this day and he was awesome," said A-B coach Mike Clifton. "He was fresh the whole way. He was strong and he wanted it. That last out, he made sure that we were going to get it so he took it himself."

Sikeston stranded nine base runners and hit into two double plays to thwart rallies.

Anheuser-Busch even made some nice defensive plays, including a diving, over-the-shoulder catch by centerfielder Tom Stevison to rob Tyler Stahl of an RBI and an extra-base hit.

"I think the turning point in the game was that centerfielder making that catch," said Clifton. "Emotionally, that was unbelievable. It gave Eric that second wind, that adrenaline that he's got people behind him working."

Kuntz threw nine innings, allowing no runs off just four hits, all singles. He struck out 12 and walked six.

"It was all Mr. Kuntz," said Sikeston coach Charlie Dye. "That sums up the game in a nutshell. He shut us down when he came down here last time and did the same thing tonight.

We had a couple chances and couldn't get a hit when we needed it. We ran into a very good pitcher. He's had a year of college under his belt. We couldn't handle him. He kept our bats in check the whole way."

Kuntz's night on the hill overshadowed another solid performance by Sikeston hurler Lance Rhodes, who limited Anheuser-Busch to seven hits in nine innings of work.

"Lance was awesome -- my kid threw well, but Lance was right there too," said Clifton. "We had some breaks that went our way. Nothing against him, he was unbelievable. And I knew that coming in -- that it was going to be a real dogfight."

Rhodes allowed three runs (two earned). He struck out seven, walked none and hit two batters.

"Lance deserved a little better from us," said Dye. "He pitched well, but we didn't generate enough offense and we had a couple miscues that cost us a couple runs."

The two teams played to a 0-0 tie through the first four innings before Anheuser-Busch was able to scratch out a run in the top of the fifth. Tony Rengel hit a double and advanced to third on an infield single by Tom Stevison when nobody covered first base. Mitch Tubbs then brought home Rengel on a ground out to take a 1-0 lead.

A-B got another run in the sixth on a throwing error to home plate by Stahl. Rhodes got out of the bases loaded jam without further damage by getting a 5-2-3 double play.

A-B scored its third run in the seventh when Stevison singled and was sacrificed to second. He advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.

"We're a small ball team," said Clifton. "That's what we teach, aggressiveness and make them make plays."

Sikeston got its lone run in the bottom of the ninth with Martin on the hill. He allowed a leadoff single to Matt Smith to start things off. He then hit Stahl and walked Joey Bickings to load the bases before being pulled for Kuntz.

Kuntz struck out Jordan Kimball and got J.R. Bizzell to hit into a ground out to bring home Smith for Sikeston's only run. After walking Jordan Penn, he got Crook to hit into the game-ending ground out.