(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Sikeston Legion Post 114's improbable run through the District 14 Legion tournament came to a halt on Sunday afternoon as Cape Girardeau Ford & Son's Post 63 eliminated Sikeston 15-5 in eight innings, ending Post 114's season in the process.
But just getting to the semifinal round was a victory in itself.
"We really didn't have much to lose," Sikeston's Evan Underwood said. "Nobody really gave us a chance to knock off Bluff, really."
The No. 5 seeded Sikeston, the lowest seed of the tournament, defeated Poplar Bluff in their opening round game, fell to Dunklin Co. and then earned their shot at Post 63 with an impressive 23-13 win over Jackson Saturday night.
"We didn't have anything to lose," Sikeston coach Chris Crosby said. "With our regular season record, we could just go out there and play with everything we've got and we did that. I'm really proud of the kids."
Sikeston was hit with an early 2-0 deficit Sunday after the top of the first inning. Lead off back-to-back singles by Jake Pewitt and Blake Smith off of Post 114 starter Ben Freed eventually came around to score. After that, Freed, who pitched 6 2/3 innings, kept Post 63 scoreless until the fifth inning.
By that time Sikeston had made it a brand new game with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. A walk to Nathan Rodgers, a single by Underwood and another single by Cord Sheehy set up a bases loaded situation for Stephen Beydler. Beydler grounded out into a fielder's choice scoring Rodgers while Underwood later scored on a passed ball which knotted the game at two runs apiece.
Cape, however, got those two runs right back in the next half inning and then some in the top of the sixth when they pushed four more across mostly on a 3-run home run from Ryan Grigaitis.
Post 114 made a final effort to slice the lead with two more runs in the sixth making it 8-4, but that was as close as they would come. Post 63 starting pitcher Tanner Hiett was a bit too much to handle as Cape racked up seven more runs in the last two innings to end the game by mercy rule.
"We come out a little flat," Crosby said. "We didn't strike out a whole lot with seven, but we put the ball in play just with not a lot of authority. We were hitting popups and weak ground balls today."
"We'll go back and forth with runs and then get down in a hole," Underwood added. "They finally just kind of put us away towards the end."
Sikeston ended up with 12 hits against Hiett but failed to string a lot of them together. Cape, on the other hand, had 20 hits against Freed and reliever Paul Fox which included eight doubles.
"We knew they could hit the ball," said Underwood. "They've got a lot of guys that can swing it. We were just hoping that we could make them put the ball in play and make some defensive plays."
Freed was tagged for 11 runs in his near seven innings of work. Fox was responsible for four runs in the 1 1/3 innings he pitched where he gave up five hits, including a solo home run off the bat of Jimmy Obermark.
Smith, Grigaitis, Dustin Crowden and Andrew Williams all had three hits apiece for Post 63. Underwood had three hits, including a double for Sikeston.
Sikeston's Legion season ended with a 7-17 record and a surprise run, by some, in the District 14 tournament.
"We had some kids that were dedicated this summer," Crosby said. "They were there every game, they showed up to hit before our games. Overall, I'm really pleased. We had several losses during the regular season but, we came into this tournament and, I think, we had a good showing."
Crosby hopes that although it wasn't the ending they were looking for, the noise they made during this year's tournament will be heard next year.
"I'm really proud of this group," said Crosby. "I think this year we made another step in our progression as a Sikeston Legion program. I hope next year we can have these guys return and add some more kids to the mix and improve. Hopefully, we can get Sikeston Legion baseball back to where it used to be."
|Cape||200 024 43 -- 15|
|Sikeston||000 202 01 -- 5|
WP -- Tanner Hiett. LP -- Ben Freed. Multiple hitters -- (C) Jake Pewitt 2-5, Blake Smith 3-4, Ryan Grigaitis 3-5, Dustin Crowden 3-5, Skylar Cobb 2-4, Jimmy Obermark 2-5, Andrew Williams 3-5; (S) Evan Underwood 3-4, Cord Sheehy 2-4, Stephen Beydler 2-3. 2B -- (C) Pewitt, Smith, Grigaitis, Crowden 2, Cobb, Williams 2; (S) Nathan Rodgers, Underwood, Beydler. HR -- (C) Grigaitis, Obermark.
|Jackson||113 044 00 - 13|
|Sikeston||520 612 43 - 23|
WP -- Trey Tigert. LP -- Logan Bartels. Multiple hitters -- (J) Jordan Devenport 2-5, Zack McDowell 2-5, Kendall Fay 2-4, Kyle Reynolds 2-4, Evan Watkins 2-4, Caleb Hosey 2-5; (S) Bryan Freed 2-6, Mikey Russell 2-4, Josh Boese 3-4, Ben Freed 2-6, Cord Sheehy 3-5, Steven Beydler 3-4. 2b -- (J) Devenport, Fay, Watkins, Chris Kirkpatrick; (S) Ben Freed, Even Underwood, Sheehy 3, Beydler. 3B -- (J) Reynolds, Hosey. HR -- (S) Boese.