(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
FARMINGTON -- Just when it looked like DeSoto was going to take Sikeston into extra innings in Monday's opening game of the Class 4, District 1 Tournament, the Bulldogs caught what is likely they're biggest break of the season.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh with one out, Sikeston's Tyler Anderson hit a slow roller back to the pitcher for what should have been the second out.
With the Dragon's pitcher overthrowing the first baseman, however, Anderson was able to cruise to third from where he'd score three batters later in a 4-3 Bulldog win.
"Big win for us," Sikeston coach Kevin Self said. "It's been awhile. I know we've had some disappointing games, but I'm proud of my kids and I felt like we were ready to take the next step."
Left with the game-winning run on third after the overthrow in the seventh, DeSoto decided to intentionally walk the next two batters hoping for a double-play scenario.
Trent McMillan foiled that plan, hitting a shot to deep left center, falling out of reach of the Dragon left and center fielders, allowing Anderson to cross the plate to end the game.
"That was the only fastball I had seen all day," McMillan said.
Added Self, "Trent stood in there and made a good swing and then drove it in the gap. Whether (the outfielders) caught it or didn't catch it the games was over, because we were tagging from third and would have scored anyway."
The run put to a close to game where the Bulldogs got out of several tense situations where the Dragons looked like they might break things open.
Though DeSoto was able to score the game-tying run in the fourth, things looked like they might get much worse as the Dragons started the inning off loading the bases with one out.
Able to keep his composure, Sikeston starting pitcher Drew Harper allowed a line drive up the middle to tie the game 3-3, but shortly after got a grounder to third and pop up to the shortstop to escape the jam.
"The pop up was huge that (Harper) got on an off speed pitch from that No. 1 hitter," said Self. "That was a big, big play of the game. We had a couple of stands with runners on and getting out of innings.
"There was another time they had a guy at third with one out and we were able to get out of that inning."
In picking up the win, Harper went all seven innings allowing five hits and two walks while striking out five.
"Defense was key," Harper said. "I had good defense behind me all day and that was the key to winning today.
"I didn't feel like I had the best stuff, but I worked with it, we came through and it worked out."
On offense, Anderson led the Bulldogs seven hit effort, going 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and scored twice.
The team's only extra-base hit came from clean hitters Nathan Rodgers, whose double to left center field in the bottom of the third, scoring runners from second and third to give a short-lived 3-2 lead.
For DeSoto, No. 8 hitter Brandon Fluegge had a two hit performance, both singles, while driving in and scoring a run.
"There's no good way to end the season except for a win," Dragons' coach Joshua Phipps said. "It's a tough way to go. (My kids) played a good game.
"They played their hearts out. I asked them to give me 100 percent and they gave it to us."
Pitching a complete game, Eduardo Oquendo took the loss. Giving up all four runs, he allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out eight.
"Eddie's a really smart pitcher," Phipps said. "He's been around the game a lot and does a great job of keeping batters off balance.
"He's got a few different pitches he throws and he mixes them up well. He hits his locations and did a great job."
With the win Sikeston will now play top-seed and host Farmington today at 4:30 p.m. at Wilson Rozier Park.
DeSoto 011 100 0 -- 3 5 4
Sikeston 012 000 1 -- 4 7 2
WP -- Drew Harper. LP -- Eduardo Oquendo. 2B -- (S) Nathan Rodgers. 3B -- (D) Doug Fromm.