(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Needing to overcome an early four-run deficit, Sikeston Post 114 rallied for 12 runs in the final five innings to take down Jackson Post 158 14-8 on Monday -- and in the process secured the third seed in the upcoming District 14 Legion Tournament.
"We haven't given up all year," Chris Crosby said of the comeback. "We get down and we battle back. That's just one of the things I ask out of the kids and we preach to them about is don't give up, keep playing.
"If we're up big or down big you keep competing and doing things right and we were able to do that today."
After falling to Jackson 3-1 earlier in the year, Sikeston looked to be in a similar offensive slump Monday when Post 158 jumped out to a 6-2 advantage after four-and-a-half innings.
Batting around the order in the bottom of the fifth, however, Post 114 was able to take their first lead of the game and hold on.
Starting things off, Ross Bohannon closed Sikeston to within two of Jackson when he hit a double to left centerfield to score a pair of runners.
After Sikeston continued the inning loading the bases while getting two outs, Jimmy Ash pushed the next run across hitting a ground ball past the shortstop to make it a 6-5 ball game.
Coming up next to bat, lead off hitter Luke Keefer was able to push across the go-ahead run when he hit a line drive to left centerfield which scored runners from second and third.
"We just started stringing some hits together," Keefer said. "Instead of one hit by a guy this inning and one in another, we got some in a row."
The cap to the inning came in the next at bat when, with runners on first and third, Drew Harper sent a shot over the centerfield wall to put Sikeston ahead 10-6.
"He hit that ball well," Crosby said. "That's a big lift for us where earlier in the season we wouldn't get that.
"We might get a pop up or something like that, but (Harper) steps up and gives us a huge lift."
Though Post 158 continued to battle, scoring a pair of runs over the next two innings, Sikeston's offense continued to pack on the insurance runs. Keeping their team in the lead, Bohannon hit a solo home run to right field in the sixth while Ben Freed started a three-run rally in the seventh scoring runners from second and third on a drive to right centerfield.
On the game, Post 114 outhit Post 158 13-8 as Tanner Murphy, Bohannon, Freed and Paul Fox all contributed two hits to Sikeston's cause. Murphy provided Sikeston first run of the game hitting a solo home run to left field in the first inning.
"We played well," Harper said of the win. "We finally scored some runs. I think last time we played Jackson it was 3-1 so we hit the ball a little bit better this time.
"Especially when we got two strikes today we'd just line the ball out."
For Jackson, Alex Below led in hitting with a double and a triple on the game while driving in four runs and scoring two. Kendall Fay and Mason Sanders both contributed a pair of singles to Post 158's cause.
"I liked our at-bats early in the game," Jackson coach Mark Lewis said. "I felt like we got a little bit sloppy defensively and they took advantage of it. That's what a good ball club does.
"We had some walks, we had some errors and they capitalized on it and we just couldn't get back in the ball game."
More important than improving Sikeston's record to 5-15 on the season, the win now locks up Post 114's spot as the third seed in the four-team District 14 Legion Tournament, which starts on Thursday.
After losing to Jackson 3-1 earlier in the season, Sikeston needed not only to beat Post 158 in Monday's game, but needed to do so by at least three runs to hold the tie-breaker against them.
Now instead of facing top-seed Dunklin County when the tournament starts on Friday, Post 114 will see second-seed Cape Girardeau in the opening round.
Jackson 103 021 100 - 8
Sikeston 100 181 30x - 14
WP -- Trey Tigert. LP -- Andrew D' Amico. 2B -- (J) Alex Bolew; (S) Ross Bohannon, Paul Fox. 3B -- (J) Bolew. HR -- (S) Drew Harper, Tanner Murphy, Bohannon.