CHAFFEE -- Sikeston Post 114 and Scott County Post 369 tangled in a gem of a Senior American Legion game on Thursday at Chaffee's Harmon Field.
In a complete reversal of their last outing, an ugly 20-15 slugfest win over Jackson, Sikeston outlasted Scott County in a well-played 2-0 10-inning win.
"I think I liked this one better," said Sikeston coach Todd Baker, comparing the two games. "Both sides pitched well and played well. It was a good win for us."
Both starters, Sikeston's Ryan Adams and Scott County's Jon Simpher, were impressive. Adams went nine innings and picked up the win, allowing seven hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Simpher was equally tough, inducing 17 groundball outs while going the 10-
inning distance. He allowed eight hits with one strikeout and two walks, one intentional.
"He's pitched pretty consistently and this outing gives him some confidence," said Scott County coach Tom Dirnberger, of Simpher's effort.
Each team complemented its fine pitching performances with solid defensive efforts. Sikeston committed one error, Scott County two. None of the miscues figured in the game's outcome.
Sikeston (10-9) opened the top of the 10th on Cole Smith's single up the middle. Drew Pixley sacrificed Smith to second ahead of an intentional walk to Jordan Kimball.
Adams helped his cause with a single through the hole at short to load the bases for cleanup hitter Cody Black.
Black delivered with a towering sacrifice fly to deep center field to plate Smith with the game-winning tally. The next batter, Josh Stevens, then stroked a single to score Kimball with an insurance run.
Sikeston's Joey Williams, on in relief in the bottom of the tenth, pitched out of a two-on, one-out situation to save the win.
A running shoestring catch near the foul line by right fielder Josh Jackson for the first out, with a runner at first, proved to be a key play.
Following a one-out walk to place runners at first and second, Sikeston caught a break when Simpher's slicing liner well down the right-field line fell just foul -- by about two feet. If fair, the game-tying runs were likely to score.
Williams eventually retired Simpher on a flyball to right and got the final out on a groundout to first.
The move to insert Smith at shortstop in the eighth inning proved to be a boon for Sikeston. Smith turned a crucial double play to end the ninth inning and, as previously mentioned, ignited the decisive game-winning rally.
The double play, after Rusty Hendrix' leadoff single, caused a bit of second-
guessing by Scott County's Dirnberger, who failed to call for a sacrifice bunt.
"I probably made a blunder by not bunting Hendrix over in the ninth," he said, "but it's a 50-50 thing."
Dirnberger said he felt comfortable letting the next batter Jacob Essner, who had two good at-bats in his two previous plate appearances, swing away.
Essner flied out to center field.
Scott County (10-14) remained in a recent funk with its sixth straight loss, but Dirnberger looked at the positives.
"We've been struggling lately, seven runs is the least anyone has scored against us, so it was nice to see a well-pitched ballgame," he said. "Sikeston's a good ball team. They may be seeded last in the district, but they're going to be tough. I told the kids tonight before the game started that this (Sikeston) isn't a No. 5-seed, it's a good team."
Scott County had its chances throughout the contest. Post 369 stranded 13 baserunners, including two innings, the fourth and fifth, in which they left the bases loaded.
Adams got a comebacker for the final out in the fourth and a strikeout to close the fifth.
"Ryan (Adams) threw a well-pitched game," said Baker. "He got in a couple of jams, but worked out of them."
Offensively, Sikeston's Stevens led all hitters with a 3-for-5 day. Hendrix paced Scott County, going 2-for-4. They were the lone multiple hitters.
Sikeston goes on the road today for a game with Farmington at Mineral Area College in Park Hills at 5:30 p.m.
Returning to the lineup for Sikeston is one of their top hitters and RBI men, Tyler Baker. Baker, who, coincidentally, will play for MAC next season, has been sidelined recently with a pulled quad muscle.
"He'll play tomorrow and, hopefully, won't re-aggravate it," said coach Todd Baker, who's also Tyler's dad.