(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- It wasn't the kind of season opener Sikeston Legion Post 114 had in mind.
Post 114 gave up 12 runs and committed seven errors against visiting Paducah Post 31 at VFW Memorial Stadium during their non-district game on Monday and lost in five innings, 12-1.
Being the first game of the summer with new teammates and new players to figure out, Monday's game was somewhat of a learning process for Legion head coach Chris Crosby and players alike.
"With summer ball, we have to feel our way through and get through these first games," Crosby added. "Some of these kids, we've never seen play in game situations. We'll have to go throughout lineups and see what works.
"That's the good thing about playing in these non-district games. It give us the chance to do that."
Paducah's Jordan Abel was the antagonist. Post 31's hurler was stingy on the mound allowing Sikeston just three hits and one run while striking out five during all five innings. His ability to mix pitches and speeds tied Post 114 hitters in knots.
Abel also attributed three hits to Paducah's total of 11 on the day.
"That's a good group over there," Crosby said as he motioned towards Paducah's bench. "We made a couple of mistakes but, for the most part they just flat hit it."
Post 31 scored early in the top of the first when a groundout and an error on the infield each scored Reece Johnson and Abel to give Paducah the 2-0 advantage.
Sikeston got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second following a leadoff double down the left field line from Paul Fox. Fox eventually scored off Paducah's lone error in the game to cut the deficit to one run.
Paducah answered back in a big way, however.
They scored five runs in the top of the third on five hits and two Sikeston errors. Post 31 began to figure out Sikeston starter Trey Tigart as each ball hit seemed to be scorched into the outfield.
"He was leaving a lot of pitches up and that's the ones they were hitting," Crosby said. "If you leave something belt high, a club like them is going to make you pay for it.
"(Tigart) hadn't pitched in awhile so, when you get in games against quality teams they will make you pay."
Tigart lasted four innings and gave up seven runs (four earned) on nine hits. Post 114's Jared Yates pitched the last inning for Sikeston.
After a scoreless fourth frame, Paducah roared back with another five runs in the top of the fifth. Alex Winford and Johnson each chipped in two RBI singles off of Yates to highlight the half inning, which was the ultimate demise to Sikeston's home and season opener.
Post 114 failed to extend the game in their half of the fifth without scoring two runs giving Paducah the five inning, mercy rule victory.
Crosby said it will take some time to get used to every one and for the players to learn each other. But, they will get there.
"There's little things and communication deals that we have to get on the same page with," Crosby said about starting the new season. "It starts with taking simple infield and outfield. They don't know how we do it and we don't know how they do it. As we play games and get it all together, we'll get on the same page and be alright."
Sikeston will resume play tonight against Mayfield, Ky., at VFW Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m.
Paducah 205 05 -- 12 11 1
Sikeston 010 00 -- 1 3 7
WP -- Jordan Able. LP -- Trey Tigart. 2B -- (P) Reece Johnson, Trevor Hicks; (S) Paul Fox.