(David Jenkins photo)
SIKESTON -- For three innings, when the Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons Post 63 Senior American Legion baseball team scored runs Sikeston Amercian Legion Post 114 matched them.
Sikeston, however, stopped their copycat ways in the last two innings as Post 63 distanced itself for a 12-7 district victory during the first game of their doubleheader on Monday at VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston.
Each team scored one in the first, five in the third and one in the fifth. Post 63 crept away from Sikeston with two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.
After what has become a very potent offensive lineup for Cape posted five runs in the top of the third inning, it looked as though things could get out of hand.
However, a splendid 6-3 double play by Risco's Caleb McCord at shortstop followed by a fielder's choice play ended the inning and Post 63's initial threat.
Although he would eventually be tagged out, McCord would spark another type of rally in the bottom of the third.
McCord led off the inning with a double down the first base line but would be forced out at third on a ground ball to Cape third baseman Dustin Crowden.
Three errors and a fielder's choice play later, Sikeston's Drew Harper hit a grand slam to tie the game at six.
"He got ahead in the count 2-0 and he had to come in with a fastball," Sikeston head coach Chris Crosby said. "Drew sat on it and put a really good swing on it. It got us right back in the game and gave us a big lift."
Post 63 grabbed another lead in the fifth after a double by Logan Morris led to an RBI ground out by Josh Hiett.
Sikeston answered with Harper's fifth RBI of the game after a single scored Luke Keefer from second. Harper finished with two hits.
Cape finally took a lead they would not relinquish in the sixth when Ross Moldenhaur singled to score Jamie Pickel from second and Jimmy Obermark doubled to push Moldenhaur across.
Post 63 added three insurance runs in the seventh on an RBI single from Pickel and a two-run single by Austin Davis.
With two outs, Sikeston tried to chip away at Post 63's lead in the seventh but fell flat with the bases loaded.
"We battled them after they jumped out on us," said Crosby. "We came back to tie it on Harper's home run, but defensively we just have to pick it up."
Post 114 received seven innings from Trey Tigart. He gave up 12 runs, seven earned, on 12 hits and four walks. He also struck out two.
Although they were able to turn two double plays and give Tigart some support, Sikeston's defense committed four errors which led to five runs.
"Once again, we just had a letdown defensively," Crosby said. "Trey threw the ball well, but against a good team like that if you make a mistake they're going to hit it and they did. If we make plays behind him defensively, it's a different ball game."
Cape felt the same pressures from miscues in their defense as they committed four errors as well.
Post 63 starter, Andrew Williams, was on the mound for six full innings and allowed seven runs on five hits. Only two runs were earned.
All five of Sikeston's runs they scored in the third inning were unearned.
Obermark lifted Cape to an early lead with a solo home run in the top of the first inning. Sikeston's leadoff hitter, Luke Keefer, began Post 114's day on offense with a double. Keefer, who went 2 for 4, later scored on a wild pitch.
Moldenhaur, Obermark, and Hiett all had two hits apiece. Pickel led Post 63 with three singles.
Cape also won the second game, a non-district game, 11-8, improving their record to 16-5. Sikeston fell to 4-8 and stand 0-3 in district play.
Sikeston's game against Poplar Bluff which was scheduled for today has been cancelled. Their next game will be at Marion, Ill., on Thursday.
Cape 105 012 3 -- 12 12 4
Sikeston 105 010 0 -- 7 5 4
WP -- Andrew Williams. LP -- Trey Tigart. 2B -- (C) Jimmy Obermark, Logan Morris; (S) Luke Keefer, Caleb McCord. HR -- (C) Obermark; (S) Drew Harper.