LEBANON -- The Sikeston 12-year-old district team is breathing a little easier after fighting from behind in the Cal Ripken State Tournament in Lebanon to win the state title.
The team will now move on to the regional round in Boonville, facing seven other states for the right to go to the Little League World Series. Here is how Sikeston won state:
Sikeston 18, Washington 0
The Stars started the tournament with a convincing win over Washington, 18-0. Garrett Limbaugh pitched to start the game and it was finished by Tyler Ramey. The bats were hot as Nick Lambert belted a two-run homer to pace the Stars.
Phelps Co. 5, Sikeston 3
In game two, Sikeston encountered a "Big Country" pitcher, who slowed the team's bats. The Phelps County team prevailed in a close 5-3 game, putting Sikeston in the loser's bracket. Lambert started the game and it was finished by Ramey and Limbaugh.
Sikeston 7, Boonville 3
The next step was to play Boonville in the loser's bracket on Saturday. Sikeston won that game 7-3 lead by a strong pitching performance from Timmy Bell, going all six innings for the victory. Leading the way with the bats was Lambert going 3-for-4 with his second home run, Seth Baker, Limbaugh with three hits, Scott Droddy with two and Bell with two. Adam Martin started the game on the mound and was relieved by Ramey.
Sikeston 7, Phelps Co. 2
Sunday afternoon Sikeston looked for redemption against Phelps County after the tough loss on Friday. Sikeston started off strong with a two-run homer from Lambert in the first inning and never trailed, winning the game 7-2. The pitching was shared by Limbaugh, Matt Rushing, Ramey and Bell. Two defensive played helped preserve the victory. Baker speared a hard line drive in left field in the fourth inning and Droddy dove and caught a line drive in the bottom of the sixth for an unassisted double play to win the game. With the win over Phelps County, Sikeston earned a shot at undefeated Mineral Area. The team would have to beat Mineral Area twice to win the state title.
Sikeston 9, Mineral Area 8
Sikeston took an early 5-1 lead, only to have Mineral Area comeback in the third to make it 5-4. With several lead changes the game went into the top of the sixth with Sikeston leading 8-7. The leadoff hitter of the inning homered to tie the score, but Sikeston held on with a tie going into their last at-bat. Lambert led off with a walk, then giving way to pinch-runner Matt Rushing. Scott Droddy lined a double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Mineral Area intentionally walked Bell to load the bases. Martin delivered the game-winning hit to win the game. The pitchers were Limbaugh to start and Lambert to finish. Limbaugh added three hits, while Clayton Mayfield contributed two. This set up the rematch for the state title Monday morning.
Sikeston 6, Mineral Area 5
Sikeston started off strong with a two-run homer from Droddy to stake a 2-0 lead. Mineral Area added back to back homers in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Sikeston went ahead 3-2 in the second, only to have Mineral Area grad a 5-3 lead after three innings. The pitchers kept everything at bay until the top of the sixth inning, when Droddy opened up with a double, advancing to third on a ground out. Baker singled home Droddy to put Sikeston within one run. Pinch-runner, Rushing, came in to run for Baker. Ramey singled to lead the bases up for Josh Pierce. Pierce bunted into a fielder's choice, and Rushing was caught at home. Chase Ferrell singled up the middle to score Ramey for the tying run. Mayfield followed with a single over the first baseman's head, scoring Pierce with the go-ahead run. Limbaugh held them in the bottom of the sixth to win the state title. Starting the game on the mound was Bell, followed by Ramey and finished by Limbaugh. Droddy led the hitting charge with two hits.