(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- When Columbia Trailblazer starter Ross Brown exited the game after nearly five innings of pitching, Southeast Missouri Cobras 16u coach Brian Anderson made it a special point to shake Brown's hand.
He then congratulated Brown on a job well done saying, 'if you knew how well we have been hitting lately, you'd be really happy."
Brown and the Trailblazers silenced what was once a smoldering Cobras' offensive strike to six hits on Friday during the 3rd Annual SEMO Showcase baseball tournament at Notre Dame High School on Friday in a 9-4 win.
"Their pitcher just kept us off balance," Anderson said. "We were hitting everything out in front of the plate. We just didn't make good cuts or good hitting decisions. We'd be ahead in the count and we'd hit little ground ball rollers.
"You tip your hat to their pitcher. He did what he needed to do against us."
Although the Cobras gained the early lead after Ryan Fortner, who will be junior at Scott City, hit a two-run home run to right field that scored soon-to-be Cape Central junior Tyler Anderson, Brown allowed just two more base runners the next three innings.
The Trailblazers took the lead in their half of the third inning on four hits, three of which came in succession, and a sacrifice.
An infield error by the Cobras allowed Columbia's Adam Bax to score their first run. Brown helped his own cause with an RBI double and Simon Beeson hit a ground out to short that allowed Brown to score from third.
That, and some discomfort is his back chased Cobra starter Calvin Lovig from the mound who went 2 1/3 innings allowing four hits, one walk and three runs.
"He didn't really hit his spots and he's kind of a location pitcher," Anderson said. "His back started cramping up so we pulled him."
The Trailblazers scored another run in the fourth on a balk by Cobra reliever Denton Daugherty that scored Garrett Haslag from third. They went up 5-2 in the fifth inning when Beeson doubled off of the Cobras' third pitcher of the game, James Dickerson, which scored Garet Halbert.
With the Trailblazers spraying 12 hits throughout the game, Anderson said the Cobras didn't help their efforts with three defensive errors.
"Our pitchers did a decent job," Anderson said, "we just didn't play good defensively. We made some costly errors that kind of hurt. A younger team playing an older team -- you've got to play a clean ball game."
The Cobras battled back with a run of their own in the fifth when Trey Tigart, who will be a junior at Sikeston, connected on his second hit of the day. Tigart's double scored Dickerson from second who doubled himself earlier in the inning.
Haslag singled in another Trailblazer run in the sixth inning to put Columbia up 6-3.
The Trailblazers put the game out of reach in the seventh by pushing three more across. Beeson, who went 2 for 3 with two doubles, hit his second double that scored two and later scored on a wild pitch.
The Cobras managed to plate one run in the bottom half of the seventh when Anderson singled in Bloomfield junior Travis Phillips making it the final of 9-4.
The Cobras, who played two more games on Saturday, were 0-2 in the tournament throughout Thursday and Friday. They have a season record of 10-4.
Being a younger team in a tournament mostly comprised of 18u teams, Anderson and the Cobras don't put much thought into wins and losses. They just enjoy and treasure the experiences they gain against tougher and more experienced pitchers and players.
"We're not here for the trophies," said Anderson. "You're only going to get better playing better competition. These boys, who will all probably be fixtures on their varsity teams next year, are better off playing older guys which is going to make them better in the long run."
The Missouri Bulls played two games on Friday beating the Southern Illinois Sundawgs 5-0 and the Missouri Outlaws Gold team 7-0.
Trailblazers 003 111 3 -- 9 12 3
Cobras 200 010 1 -- 4 6 3
WP -- Ross Brown. LP -- Calvin Lovig. 2B -- (T) -- Simon Beeson 2, Garet Halbert, Brown; (C) James Dickerson, Trey Tigart. HR -- (C) Ryan Fortner.