East Prairie won its first district championship since 1995 last week and with Wednesday's 4-1 Class 2 sectional win against Scott City, the Eagles are now one win away from the school's first ever final four appearance.
The Eagles will host Clearwater tomorrow at 4 p.m. in a Class 2 quarterfinal game. Clearwater (19-3), ranked No. 1 for most of the season, crushed Steelville 14-1 in their sectional game.
It also marked the first time in school history that East Prairie eclipsed 20 wins.
"(Twenty wins), that's a first -- you can mark this down as the best season ever in East Prairie," said East Prairie coach Jason Aycock. "I'm proud of the kids. I'm privileged enough to coach them. I think any coach in Southeast Missouri could coach these guys and do well with them."
Shoemaker allowed one run off three hits, walked two and hit two batters.
Ben Walters pitched a scoreless seventh to record the save.
"I've got a ton of confidence in Preston," said Aycock. "I like to think we have two number ones. We knew Preston could come in here and shut Scott City down and that's what he did. I will put Preston Shoemaker on the mound against any team. And with Ben, that's a good 1-2 punch."
Scott City southpaw Andy Stephens was just as effective on the mound, but one crucial error proved to be enough to saddle him with the loss.
In the bottom of the second inning, East Prairie loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk with nobody out.
Stephens got a flyout and a strikeout and appeared to be out of trouble as East Prairie's Hunter Jones lofted a tall flyball to right field.
But Scott City freshman Ryan Modglin dropped it, allowing three runs to score.
"It was huge -- I mean, 98 out of 100 times he's going to make that play," said Scott City coach Mike Umfleet. "It just so happened that this was one that he didn't. That's a ball that should've been caught but it wasn't. You're going to have that. This is high school baseball. You're going to have plays like that but it just so happened it was in a huge situation. It never boils down to one play."
Jones eventually scored when he went to third on a wild pitch and came home on the ensuing throwing error by Rams catcher Jason Schenimann, making it 4-0.
Stephens threw the complete game, allowing five hits while striking out six and walking just one. All four runs were unearned.
"Andy Stephens is the best pitcher we've faced all year, even in that tough district down there that we play in," said Aycock. "My hat's off to that kid right there. He's a darn good pitcher. I think he does a good job of mixing it up and mixing in his offspeed stuff with a fastball. We haven't seen that many lefties this year, he may be the third one we've seen."
Scott City got its only run in the top of the third on an East Prairie error. After Luke McClellan walked, Blake Dirnberger scorched a single to right field, but it got by Tyler Branam and rolled to the fence, allowing McClellan to circle the bases.
The Rams had a couple other chances to score but Shoemaker and his defense managed to avoid any further damage.
Scott City's last chance came in the top of the seventh as they loaded the bases with two outs. But Walters got Scott City's Kyle Curry to flyout to left field to end the game.
"We had opportunities and we didn't swing the bats like I thought we could," said Umfleet. "You just got to give them credit. They just kept plugging away and their pitcher kept us off stride. We hit some balls hard and had a couple balls the centerfielder caught up against the fence. I guess it was East Prairie's day."
William O'Guin and Taylor White led the Eagles with two hits apiece. Both also scored a run. Jones and Zach Secoy had the other two runs.
"(East Prairie has) got some good ballplayers," said Umfleet. "They've got a lot of enthusiasm. I know the Walters kid is a heck of a ball player. They've got a few kids that can play. They're a good, sound ballclub. We knew we were getting it today when we came down here. I told my kids that I really think they're going to go to the final four."
Scott City (10-10) got its hits from Dirnberger, Schenimann, Mark Johnston and freshman Cody Carlyle.