SIKESTON -- After opening the District 14 Legion baseball tournament off in grand fashion, Sikeston Senior American Legion Post 114's season came to an end on Saturday following two losses to Dunklin County and Jackson.
Post 114, the tournament's third seed, got their post season run off to a great start by upsetting the second-seed, Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons Post 63, in an 8-5 win on Friday.
Their good fortunes, however, would quickly turn sour. Injuries and the lack of a deep pitching rotation came back to bite Post 114 against the eventual tournament champions, Dunklin County Post 303, in a 14-1 loss that began their Saturday downfall.
Paul Fox, who would have gotten the start against Dunklin County, reportedly tweaked a muscle during Friday's game against Post 63 while relaying a ball from the outfield.
"When Paul went down we had to piece a pitching staff together to get through it the best we could," Sikeston head coach Chris Crosby said. "(Dunklin County's) just a super talented team one through nine. They have extremely good hitters and several good arms."
Pitching in Fox's stead, was Jimmy Ash who would eventually leave the game as well due to an injury. After 2 1/3 innings on the hill for Sikeston, Ash took a line drive off the top of his foot that put him out of commission for the rest of the day.
"There was no way he could continue," Crosby said about Ash and his misfortunate foot injury. "Even in second game, he couldn't play. That put us in a bad spot, pitching-wise."
Sikeston could not overcome Dunklin County's hearty offensive lineup who posted two runs in the second inning and seven in the third, which ultimately sealed Post 303's win.
Riddled with injuries and desperately trying to piece together a lineup to keep their season alive against Jackson, Sikeston's best option was to turn to Jared Sandlin, who had spent most of his time in the junior legion circuit this season.
Sandlin and Post 114 would suffer a 17-1 loss to Jackson and their starter, Logan Bartels, who pitched a no-hitter, which brought an end to their season.
"Putting Jared in that situation was tough," Crosby said. "He's been playing junior legion all season and putting him in an elimination game against Jackson was tough. We were really slim on options. That's about all we could do.
"We thought he'd be able to throw strikes and eat some innings for us and keep us in the ball game. I appreciate him taking the ball and giving us his effort."
Opening the seventh inning, Bartels threw three wild pitches that enabled Sikeston's lone run to score.
Sikeston ended their season with a 6-17 record.
"Our record wasn't anything near the type of team we had," Crosby said. "There were so many games where if we could make one play or get one hit, we win the game. Losing is tough, but you got to look at the positives. They kept working and kept playing as hard as they could. That's all we could ask."
Dunklin County defeated Jackson 12-4 in their second game on Sunday to win the District 14 crown.
Jackson roared back after trailing 7-0 in their first championship game to win 10-7. That win forced the second championship seeing as Dunklin County hadn't lost previously.
Dunklin County's Zach Watkins pitched a nine inning, complete game in the tournament finale while striking out six.
Dunklin County advances to the Zone Tournament, which will be held at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau starting Thursday. Cape Post 63 will also be participating, even though they fell in two-straight games to Sikeston and Jackson because they will host the Zone Tournament.