"It doesn't bother me at all," Keefer said. "Usually when I start games, after they have seen me once that's when I start giving up hits.
"If they only see me once I feel like I've got a good chance."
Keefer first stepped on the mound with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning. He stepped off the mound four batters later sealing the Sikeston Bulldogs 12-9 win over the Poplar Bluff Mules.
It took Keefer a mere 13 pitches to get the last four outs of the game on Tuesday evening. A fly ball to right field ended the bases loaded threat in the sixth while a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh ended the game and gave Keefer the save.
"He's done this the last three games," Sikeston head coach Kevin Self said. "He's come in and closed the door. He's working his way into a role where I can trust him in the last inning because I know he's going to throw strikes."
In his 1 1/3 innings of work, Keefer threw 10 strikes and just three balls and struck out one on his way towards his second save of the year.
He came into the game protecting a 10-9 lead but, received two insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
"I just try to get outs when I can," Keefer said. "I knew my team had my back. Posting runs in the seventh inning was big. With two extra there, I knew the team would play good 'D' and get it done."
The Bulldogs continue to pound the ball, which led to an early 5-0 lead. Four RBIs by freshman Tyler Anderson in the first two innings led Sikeston. Anderson hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to draw first blood and added two more in the top of the second with a two-run double.
Anderson finished the day just a single shy of hitting for the cycle. He added a triple off the left field wall in the fourth inning. He went 3-for-4 at the dish and drove in a total of five runs for the Bulldogs.
"I'm glad I'm hitting well," Anderson said. "I just hope to do it the rest of the season to help the team win."
"He is swinging it really well," Self added about Anderson. "We've got to continue to get guys on and give him opportunities. And then guys behind him, they've got to pitch to him (Anderson) because you've got Jason (Isaacs) and Nate (Rodgers) right behind him that are swinging it as well.
"Up and down our lineup right now, we have several guys that are hitting well."
Sikeston (6-2) was able to hit through a three run deficit after the Mules posted a huge eight spot on the board in the bottom of the third inning.
"We put together a crazy inning," Poplar Bluff head coach Stan Bullington said. "I don't know how it kept going but it just did. We had some guys get some hits and take advantage of some miscues."
Two errors and a slew defensive miscues by the Bulldogs aided the Mules' six hits in the inning. Sikeston starter Ross Bohannon had cruised until that point but was tagged with seven earned runs in that one inning.
"We made some poor decisions defensively throwing the ball around," Self said. "The cutoff's are not where we're supposed to be, pitch and catch is not where we're supposed to be, you just can't do that against a good club."
Poplar Bluff (1-4) led 9-6 at the end of the fourth inning.
Three runs by the Bulldogs in their half of the fifth tied the game once again. A two-run home run over the left field wall by Blake Newman got things going. Kai Lambert, was later pushed across by Anderson's fifth RBI of the game on a fielder's choice.
The go-ahead run was scored by Nathan Rodgers who crossed home on a wild pitch.
Cody Rice scored Trent McMillan in the seventh inning with an RBI single. Jason Isaacs later scored Rice from second with a single to right field to give the Bulldogs their 12-9 final.
"We swung them pretty much up and down our lineup," Self said. "That's why we're winning right now, we're outscoring our opponent. To be honest, I'd take a few less runs if we were better defensively and our pitching staff was holding people down."
Lambert, who came in during Poplar Bluff's eight-run third and did a bit of damage control, received the win. He pitched 3 1/3 innings allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits, two walks and five hit batters. Lambert also struck out three on 74 total pitches until giving way to Keefer in the sixth.
"He did a good job," Self said about Lambert. "He threw strikes for the most part but just the hitting batters and walks were most of the baserunners. So when they did get a hit it ended up costing him a run when it shouldn't have.
"You have to make them earn everything by making them put it in play."
Sikeston outhit the Mules 15-10 with Anderson leading the way. McMillan added three hits while Rice, Isaacs and Newman all chipped in two hits as well.
"I think we're hitting really good," said Anderson. "We just need to keep it up."
Sikeston 221 131 2 -- 12
Poplar Bluff 008 100 0 -- 9
WP -- Kai Lambert (S). LP -- Quinton West (P). S -- Luke Keefer (S). Multiple hits: Cody Rice (S) 2-for-5, Tyler Anderson (S) 3-for-5, Jason Isaacs (S) 2-for-5, Blake Newman (S) 2-for-4, Trent McMillan (S) 3-for-4, Jake Smith (P) 2-for-4, Robert Rushin (P) 2-for-4, Kyle Nelson (P) 2-for-4, Nick Shrum (P) 2-for-4. 2B -- Rice (S), Anderson (S), Rodgers (S), McMillan (S), Trent Eudaley (P), Smith (P). 3B -- Anderson (S). HR -- Anderson (S), Newman (S).