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Legion Post 114 struggles against Jackson

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

JACKSON -- Sikeston Post 114 remained winless in Senior American Legion District 14 play with a 9-4 road loss to Jackson Post 158 on Monday.

Sikeston (6-4, 0-3 in district) fell behind early as Jackson opened its half of the first inning with five straight hits -- all singles.

Jackson (8-9, 2-2), running the bases aggressively, took a 3-0 lead.

Post 114 bounced right back with three runs in the top of the second to even the score at 3.

Cody Black's one-out single up the middle got things rolling ahead of Dexter Moore's basehit which put runners at first and second.

Josh Stevens then punched a two-out single to right field on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play to score Black.

Scott Droddy cleared the bases with an opposite-field double to the left-field corner to plate Moore and Stevens with the game-tying runs.

The team's execution of two other hit-and-run calls put on by coach Todd Baker were also flawlessly executed. Both plays advanced baserunners from first to third, however, Sikeston could capitalize on only one opportunity.

"I'm getting lucky, aren't I?" said Baker, of his perfect 3-of-3 success rate on hit-and-run plays. "It's pretty when it works."

Added Baker, further explaining his thinking on the strategy, "I'm trying to make them swing the bats. I've got kids that aren't being aggressive at the plate so I'm trying to make them swing the bats and make something happen."

Sikeston's defense opened the door for three more Jackson runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. A wide throw on the front end of a tailor-made double-play groundball kept the inning alive and Jackson's ninth-place hitter, Ryan Cheney, made Sikeston pay with a three-run homer well over the 302-

foot wall in left field.

"They had the double-play ball and didn't turn it and we capitalized on that," said Jackson coach Mark Lewis. "In the past, we've done that and been hurt by it, so it was good to see us step up with a big hit."

Sikeston closed the gap to 6-4 with a single run in the fifth. A walk to leadoff hitter Drew Pixley followed by a hit-and-run single by Dustin Barker sent Pixley to third base.

He scored on Tyler Baker's RBI groundout.

A second Sikeston error followed by a basehit signaled the end for Sikeston starter and loser Ryan Adams.

Adams was relieved by Pixley who wild-pitched home a run and yielded a two-run double to Jordan Buchheit to close the scoring.

Jackson starter and winning pitcher Logan Lawson, held Sikeston in check through 7 1/3 innings.

Lawson, relying on a sharp-breaking curveball, struck out 13 batters, 11 looking.

"His curveball was working good," said Lewis. "He probably could have finished it, but I didn't want to push him right now."

Austin Morrison mopped up with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Leading Sikeston's 10-hit offense were Adams, Black and Stevens with two hits apiece.

Cameron Heath paced Jackson's 15-hit offense with three hits.

Taylor Busch, Brandon Cooper, Buchheit and Cheney collected two hits each.