Lawrence singles home winning run in bottom of ninth
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Legion Post 114 baseball team survived another late inning Cape Girardeau Post 63 rally on Tuesday night at VFW Stadium, winning 5-4 to stay in the winner's bracket of the District 14 Legion Tournament.
Sikeston, the No. 2 seed, will meet top-seeded Dunklin County (14-4 winners against Jackson) on Thursday at 5 p.m. at VFW Stadium.
Ford & Sons (21-15) falls to the loser's bracket where they will play Chaffee tonight at 8 p.m.
Post 114 (18-7) squandered a five-run, ninth inning lead last week against Ford & Sons before losing in 12 innings.
And on Tuesday night it looked as if Cape was going to do it again when they tied the score after being down 4-0 entering the ninth inning.
But Sikeston's Scotty Keenan laced a one-out double to left centerfield, followed by an infield single by Adam Garrett, advancing Keenan to third.
Cape then employed a gimmick defense, loading the infield with five players on the infield and having only two outfielders when Drew Lawrence stepped to the plate.
It didn't matter as Lawrence lined the first pitch down the left field line by a diving third baseman to plate Keenan with the winning run.
"It was a real, good American Legion ballgame," said Sikeston head coach Charlie Dye. "Both teams were going at it, there were two good pitching performances. Drew Lawrence had been robbed twice tonight. He got a pitch he could handle and that's the ballgame."
The extra half-inning of baseball spoiled a nice pitching performance by Lance Rhodes, who pitched eight full innings of shutout baseball.
He was pulled in the top of the ninth after giving up a leadoff single to Aaron Dohogne.
Rhodes, who allowed just six hits while striking out eight and walking seven, got the no-decision.
"I think the whole story of the game if you really look at it was Lance Rhodes," said Dye. "He threw eight shutout innings and kept a good hitting Cape team in check. He had some big strikeouts and we had some nice plays in the field."
After Rhodes was pulled Dye brought in Blake DeWitt to close the deal. He didn't have much luck either as he gave up a single to Seth Hudson to make it second and third with nobody out.
He then got Shane Kistner to bounce back to the box for what appeared to be a tailor-made double play. But DeWitt's throw was too low for Adam Garrett to handle, leaving the bases loaded with no outs.
It opened the door for Cape's comeback.
"Considering what's happened to us two out of the last three ballgames in the ninth inning, our kids could've thought, 'heck, here we are again,'" said Dye. "But they didn't, they came right back knowing we had the last at-bat."
Jeff Brosey drew a bases loaded walk to make the score 4-1. DeWitt got Timmy Wencewicz to strike out looking, but Matt Wulfers lined a two-run single to make it 4-3.
Josh Ford then tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left field.
"The biggest part of the ninth inning was that we didn't handle the play that could've taken us out of the inning early," said Dye. "But Blake got out of it and kept it a tie ballgame and gave us a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth."
DeWitt picked up the win in his one inning of work.
Wayne Essner was charged with the loss in relief of starter John Thies, who pitched seven innings, allowing four runs off seven hits.
He struck out six and walked two.
"We didn't play real smart tonight but we got beat by a good team," said Cape head coach Tom Reinagel. "Sikeston played well and came back when they had to. They hit the ball well and had some good pitching. We didn't get the production in the three, four and five slots tonight for some reason."
Sikeston grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Nathan Eaves plated Jacob Priday with a single. After stealing second and moving to third on a wild pitch, Eaves scored on Mark Adam Wade's groundout.
Sikeston moved ahead 4-0 when Rhodes helped his own cause by putting a two-out, two-run double off the right centerfield fence.
"(Thies) didn't pitch smart tonight," said Reinagel. "The double was a 3-1 pitch and it was supposed to have been a curveball. The catcher didn't look over and get the signal -- it was a ball right down the middle and bam, off the wall. That was the difference in the game right there. That was a backbreaker."
Meanwhile, Ford & Sons was stranding baserunners. They left the bases loaded in both the first and second inning, leaving 12 on the night.
"Cape's a very talented ballclub," said Dye. "We've had good ballgames with them all summer long. To get a win against them tonight is a big plus."
Sikeston was led by Priday, Garrett and Rhodes with two hits each.
Ford & Sons was led by Kistner's two hits.
Jackson led heavily favored Dunklin County 4-3 heading into the fourth inning. But Dunklin County (32-5) plated six runs on one hit, helped by three errors and a handful of walks to take a 9-4 lead.
Jackson (19-17) out-hit Dunklin County 7-6 in the game.
Jonathan Winston was the winning pitcher. Tim Davis took the loss for Jackson.