Post 114 to play Jackson Legion tonight at VFW Stadium
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Senior American Legion Post 114 baseball team will take on the Jackson Legion team for the sixth time this season when they open the Zone 14 Tournament tonight at VFW Stadium.
The two will play at 8:30 p.m. following the opening game between Imperial and Brentwood at 5:30 p.m.
Anheuser-Busch received a first round bye and will play its first game tomorrow at 1 p.m.
It's the first time Sikeston has hosted the zone tournament since 1997.
Last week, Sikeston (20-10) won its first district tournament under Charlie Dye, who has been coaching the team since 1998.
Post 114 fought back through the loser's bracket and defeated Jackson twice on Saturday to claim the title.
Sikeston has won four of the five meetings against Jackson this season.
"We hope we can give ourselves a chance to win the tournament," said Sikeston coach Charlie Dye, who is coaching his last season for Post 114. "We'll have to get good pitching, play good defense and find a way to score some runs. We'll have to probably play our best ball of the year to have a chance to go through it. It will take a supreme effort on our part to do that. All four of the teams coming in are good teams or they wouldn't be here. Jackson has played us tough all year long."
Sikeston has won this year mostly on the strength of their pitching and defense.
Post 114's top three hurlers --
Lance Rhodes, Josh Miller and Jordan Kimball -- formed one of the top starting rotations in the area this season as they have combined to go 17-4.
And the team's defense has been solid all season.
"Pitching and defense -- that's been our strength," said Dye. "That's pretty much what's carried us all year long. It's going to have to carry us again through this tournament."
Rhodes is also the team's top hitter, batting .400 with five home runs and 29 RBIs, all of which lead the team.
Catcher Matt Smith has hit .376 with three home runs and 22 RBIs.
Drew Lawrence follows up with a .349 average and 18 RBIs. Joey Bickings is batting .316 with five home runs. And leadoff batter Brandon Crook has a .438 on-base percentage with a team leading 26 runs scored.
"It would be a nice time to peak," said Dye. "We've got four good ballclubs coming in so it should be a good tournament."