(David Jenkins photo)
SIKESTON -- The Dunklin County A's continue to be a thorn in Sikeston Post 114's side.
In two games at VFW Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Dunklin County Post 303 scored 25 runs, belted 25 hits and handed Post 114 two consecutive losses, 7-2 and 18-7.
"The first game we played them to a fairly close 7-2 game and we kind of settled in that game," Post 114 head coach Chris Crosby said. "We've got to look at the big picture -- we're getting better and we're getting to where we can compete with those guys."
In the opener, Dunklin County plated four runs in the top of the first thanks to a Dustin Spencer grand slam over the right-center field fence off Sikeston starter Drew Harper. The blast plated Garrett Stockton who doubled to lead off the game as well Joe Campbell who singled and Trey Bazzell who walked.
"That's a great way to start for us," Dunklin County head coach Jamie Johnson said. "We got a lot of kids in the ball game and a lot of different looks. I was pretty pleased with the way we swung the bats both games. We just have to keep swinging them poles."
As it turns out the runs would be all A's starter Tyler Thompson would need. Thompson gave up two runs in the first when Paul Fox reached on an error and Tanner Murphy was hit by a pitch. Both scored on a single by Ross Bohannon who had the only two hits of the game off of Thompson.
"(Thompson) is really, really good," said Crosby. "We had some good swings against him and put the ball in play, so I'm pleased with that effort. We battled and kept playing."
The Dunklin County starter shut Sikeston down the rest of the way, pitching a complete game, two-hitter, walking three while striking out 15, including seven of the last 10 batters he faced.
Dunklin County (11-4) was led at the plate by Campbell who finished 3 for 4 with a triple. Stockton was 2 for 4 with double and an RBI while Clayton Gibbons also finished 2 for 4.
Harper was saddled with the loss for Sikeston, allowing seven runs, six earned, while walking three and striking out three. Trey Tigart held Dunklin County scoreless over the final two innings, giving up two hits while striking out one.
"If it wasn't for giving up four runs in the first, it's a whole new ball game," Crosby said. "
Their second game began much like the first.
Post 303 pushed six runs across on two walks and four hits off of Sikeston starter Ben Freed.
A scoreless second inning was the prelude to another big inning for the A's in the third inning when they scored four more runs, which were all charged to Freed.
Freed lasted two innings allowing 10 runs, all earned, before giving way to Jimmy Ash.
Ash pitched well for two innings, allowing just one hit to seven batters throughout the third and fourth innings.
While Ash kept Dunklin County quiet for a limited time, Post 114 made their move toward the A's.
Having already plated four runs in the first two innings, Sikeston added three more in the fourth behind a two-RBI double from Harper. Harper scored Sikeston's third run of the inning on a Dunklin County error in the infield.
The A's, however, picked up on what Ash had to offer and plated five insurance runs to further themselves from Post 114 (4-4) the following inning.
The A's led off the fifth with five consecutive hits, including a leadoff double by Perry Middleton. Justin Norman, Thompson, Dustin Franklin and Middleton all drove in runs to give Dunklin County a 15-7 edge.
"You're only going to hold them down for so long," Crosby said. "They're a quality ball club."
Ash eventually gave way to Luke Keefer in the sixth and final inning. Keefer gave up three runs, all unearned, on four hits.
"We had some guys come in to try and eat up some innings for us and they did," Crosby said. "(Post 303) just started hitting and we added a few errors on top of it. Against a club like that, you make an error their going to make you pay for it."
Dunklin County hurler Cole McBroom got the win going a full six innings, but struggled in the early going allowing Sikeston to score their first four runs on on six walks as opposed to three hits.
"I thought he kind of struggled early," Johnson said about McBroom. "He didn't throw enough strikes to be honest, but he settled in after awhile, got ahead and let them hit the baseball. Defensively, I thought we did okay. (McBroom's) just got to get ahead of more hitters. He threw too many pitches."
Post 303 was led by Middleton and Thompson who each had four hits apiece.
Sikeston leadoff hitter, Jacob Wilson, led his squad with two hits.
Post 114 will be back in action on Thursday when they host Poplar Bluff at 6 p.m. while Dunklin County travels to Dyersburg, Tenn., today.
|Dunklin County||401 110 0 -- 7 9 1|
|Sikeston||200 000 0 -- 2 2 2|
WP -- Tyler Thompson. LP -- Drew Harper. 2B -- (D) Garrett Stockton, Jordan Carter. 3B -- (D) Joe Campbell. HR -- (D) Dustin Spencer.
|Dunklin County||604 053 -- 18 16 2|
|Sikeston||130 300 -- 7 6 1|
WP -- Cole McBroom. LP -- Ben Freed. 2B -- (D) Dustin Franklin, Perry Middleton; (S) Drew Harper.