(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston 13-year-old All-Stars have now been crowned Midwest Plains Regional Champions in four consecutive years. The most recent championship came in front of their local crowd as they took down Minnesota (Minnetonka) by a score of 16-2 on Monday evening.
For the host team, it was pretty certain from the opening pitch that this tournament was theirs to lose. Before the 28-minute top of the first was over Sikeston had plated 11 runs on five hits and four walks. Tanner Murphy had four RBIs in the first inning of the ball game including a bases-loaded double that brought in three.
Minnesota plated two in the bottom of the fourth but that was the only offense they could muster up and Sikeston cruised to a 16-2 victory.
"We got it done," said Sikeston head coach Rod Anderson following the win. "I think they (Minnesota) ran out of steam before they got to us today. I knew going in, we talked to them (before the game) and they said they were low on pitching."
Minnesota had to defeat Missouri (SEMO South) prior to the title game and had roughly an hour break before taking to the diamond against Sikeston.
Tigart was a huge part of the victory as was Murphy, and each said that it was a total team effort for the championship.
Tigart was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher in the tournament after providing solid performances on the hill on multiple occasions. His prize was a Blake DeWitt signed baseball and a rookie card that was also autographed by the former Sikeston athlete.
Murphy provided a lot of force from the plate throughout the tournament as well as a steady defensive effort as well. In the batter's box, Murphy recorded 11 RBIs on the tournament and was awarded the Most Outstanding Hitter award. His prize was a game-used bat of DeWitt that was also autographed.
"The win felt good, especially in front of our local crowd," said Murphy after the game. "I didn't really do much myself, it was my teammates really."
Murphy said that if the team keeps playing like they have as of late, they should do well in Jamestown, N.Y. where the World Series is being held at the Single A ballpark of the Florida Marlins.
Anderson said that he thought both players were deserving of their individual awards and that the team as a whole was very deserving of their fourth straight title. He also said that the tournament was a success and that they couldn't have done it without all of the help from the host families.
"A lot of people don't realize what a big deal this is and what it takes to put a tournament like this on," he said. "I was very pleased with the support of the home crowd."
He went on to say that he thinks right now they've got a great opportunity to bring home some bigger 'hardware' to Missouri.
"I'm really proud of the kids," he said. "Even though they were in the driver's seat, they stepped up and avoided the distractions of playing in front of their home crowd. I was really happy with their performance."
Tigart gave up just five hits and two free passes through five innings to receive the win. He supported his own cause at the plate by going 2-for-4 with two singles and two RBIs.
Providing most of the offense for Sikeston was Murphy and Drew Harper. Murphy was 2-for-4 with two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored, while Harper was 2-for-3 with a single, a double, a walk, three RBIs and two runs scored. Josh King was also 2-for-2 with two singles, two walks, an RBI and three runs scored.