SIKESTON -- Sikeston's Junior American Legion team swept Poplar Bluff in two five-inning contests on Monday at VFW Memorial Stadium.
While improving to 18-14, Sikeston assured itself of a winning regular-season record.
"These games were important because we want to make sure we stay above .500," said Sikeston assistant coach Todd Baker. "We don't want a losing record."
Coach Baker's son Tyler, a junior at Sikeston High School, was the catalyst for his team's opening game 14-4 win. He drove home five runs -- a couple of two-run doubles and an RBI single -- in a 3-for-3 performance.
Sikeston, sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of Post 114, won the nightcap 4-2.
Baker, who's been sizzling at the plate recently, had a streak of reaching safely in 10 consecutive plate appearances broken when he flied out in his single at-bat in the second game.
"I've been hitting a lot in the (batting) cage lately," said Baker, explaining his hot streak.
Andy Gantner went the distance in the first game in his first extended pitching effort of the American Legion season. He allowed eight hits, struck out four and walked three.
"Andy (Gantner) hurt his arm during the high school season and we've been bringing him along slowly," said Todd Baker. The visitors loaded the bases twice against Gantner, but he responded each time to limit the damage. He led 14-1 until Poplar Bluff's Dexter Moore lofted a three-run homer to left field in the top of the fifth. Moore drove in all four Poplar Bluff runs.
Ryan Adams, who went 2-for 3 in the opener, got Sikeston rolling with a solo blast in the first inning. Sikeston added seven in the second, a single run in the third and five in the fourth. Gantner also had a productive 3-for-4 night at the plate as Sikeston totaled 14 hits.
In the second game, Willie O'Guin tossed a four-hitter as Sikeston capitalized on four Poplar Bluff errors in the third inning for two unearned runs to break a 2-2 tie.
Post 114 tallied two in the first, one on Josh Jackson's RBI single and another on Thomas Higgerson's RBI ground-rule double.
Sikeston is idle until the district tournament, which is scheduled to open on Friday. The site is still undetermined.