(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
CHAFFEE - The Sikeston Senior American Legion Post 114 baseball team advanced to the second round of the District 14 Tournament on Monday with a 13-8 victory against fourth-seeded Poplar Bluff.
Sikeston (15-8), seeded fifth, will play top-seeded Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons today at 5 p.m. at Chaffee's Harmon Field.
On Monday, Sikeston jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two innings and they never trailed.
Post 114 led by as much as 9-1 in the game before Poplar Bluff staged a comeback in the late innings.
"They swing the bats good -- you've got to make pitches whether you're up one run or 10 runs," said Sikeston head coach Charlie Dye. "They don't get cheated and if you let them get on a roll they can string some hits and runs together. We were fortunate enough to hold on."
Sikeston pounded out 17 hits in the game compared to Poplar Bluff's nine.
Post 114 hurler Josh Miller threw seven strong innings to pick up the win. He allowed three runs off five hits while walking just one.
"He was getting ahead and throwing strikes," said Poplar Bluff head coach Barry Stahl. "I don't think he walked but one or two kids. He made everybody hit the ball and we weren't. That's kind of been our story. We seem like we're real slow to get going. When we do score it comes in little clumps. I can't say bunches because we don't score that many. We just aren't doing a lot of things right lately."
Sikeston had six different players with multiple hits. None bigger than Scotty Keenan, who went 3-4 with two triples and a home run. He finished with four RBIs and four runs scored.
Ben Pyles and Nathan Eaves each had three hits.
"We did offensively today what we had to do to win the ballgame," said Dye. "There again, we've got contributions 1-through-9. Scotty had a monster day. He's been hitting the ball hard. Ben Pyles had a big day and Jake Kimball was 2-for-2 until he pulled hamstring. You can go up and down and pick somebody out. It was a good team effort today, no doubt about it."
Sikeston broke out to a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the second highlighted by Keenan's two-run triple to right centerfield.
In the bottom of the fourth, Keenan added another run-scoring triple down the right field corner. Willie Dooley followed with a triple of his own to right centerfield to chase Poplar Bluff hurler Ryan Smith from the hill.
Smith threw 3 1/3 innings in taking the loss. He allowed eight runs (five earned) off nine hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Sikeston built the lead to 9-1 in the bottom of the fifth on a run-scoring single by Mack Taylor.
Poplar Bluff scored two runs in the top of the seventh and five in the eighth to close the gap.
Sikeston added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, including Keenan's leadoff solo homer to right field. Eaves added an RBI-single in the inning for Sikeston.
In the late game, sixth-seeded Jackson upset No. 3 Chaffee 5-2 behind the brilliant pitching of Jason Meystedt.
The lefty threw all nine innings and allowed two runs off five hits. He struck out 14 and walked four.
Chaffee's Trey Graviett threw all eight innings in taking the loss.
Jackson (25-17) will play No. 2 Dunklin County today at 8 p.m.
Chaffee (18-13) falls to the loser's bracket where they will play the loser of the Sikeston/Cape game on Wednesday at 5 p.m.