(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
DEXTER -- The game ended on an outfield assist from Dexter right fielder Logan Northern, but it was won by the Bearcats' ability to make the most of their opportunities.
Northern's toss to catcher D.J. Dowdy reached home plate well before a speeding Drew Harper to cut down the Sikeston junior and give a young Bearcats squad a 5-4 upset victory over the Sikeston Bulldogs Monday night in Dexter.
"It's only fitting that the game should end on 'Perry' throwing a guy out at the plate," Dexter head coach said about Northern, who entered the game following an injury to Cody Neldon in the fourth inning.
Needing one run to tie in the top of the seventh, a base hit by Sikeston's Andrew Hicks put Harper in motion from second base.
As Harper rounded third, Northern, who is known as 'Perry', fired a throw straight to Dowdy just slightly up the third base line. Dowdy had plenty of time to field the ball and find Harper before tagging Sikeston's tying run to end the game.
"I think he was full of adrenaline there and he saw the base hit was made and he's a competitor," Sikeston head coach Alan Scheeter said about the final play. "He was at least wanting to tie the game up to give us a chance to win there. Adrenaline probably got a little bit of the best of him and I probably held him up a little bit too late. By then, it was too late for him to lock it up and get back.
"In that particular situation, I can live with that. Credit (Northern) for the good throw. They made the play."
After falling behind 3-2, Dexter scored the go-ahead run in the third inning. Leading off the inning with a walk, Chase Young would eventually come around to score on a passed ball to take ahold of the game 4-3.
During the third, Sikeston's starting pitcher, Trent McMillan, gave Dexter hitters a lot of pitches to see.
The senior threw 38 pitches in the inning which eventually led to his exit after three. He threw a total of 79 pitches during his three innings of work giving up four runs on four hits and four walks. He also struck out two.
"He's one of those guys that can get by with throwing a lot of pitches," Scheeter said. "He's a tough kid and can get by with a high pitch count. Today, I think he had thrown enough and I wanted to get him back behind the plate.
"Luke (Keefer) came in and did a real good job. He kept them off balance and was a good change of pace from Trent."
The Bearcats (7-3) added their fifth and final run in the bottom of the fourth inning following an RBI single by Jordan Miller that scored Brad Potts from third.
During that same play, Sikeston center fielder, Tyler Anderson, gunned down Young trying to score from second on Miller's hit. McMillan, who moved to his regular position as catcher after reliever Luke Keefer took over on the mound, tagged Young out at the plate to end the inning.
Twice Dexter executed on 'hit and runs' and advanced on bases when throws from Sikeston's outfield would miss their cutoff or go to the wrong base. Although Dexter advanced twice on errand throws and those runners did not come across to score, Dexter's fortunes gave them two eventual runs.
"We couldn't play pitch and catch," said Scheeter. "Just a routine single to the outfield and we're trying to throw it in to the cutoff man and we short-hop him. It gets past him and it rolls across the infield. We cannot give them extra bases.
"They took advantage of every mistake that we made."
Alex Cliff, who threw 4 1/3 innings, earned the win for Dexter. He allowed all four of Sikeston's runs on five hits and three walks. He also struck out five.
"After he settled in, he started throwing his breaking ball for a strike and mixed his pitches up a little bit," Scheeter said. "He kind of kept us off balance. We were taking a lot of good pitches. I don't know if he just had us fooled, but he did a good job."
Miller, who worked out of a one-out, two-man on situation in the fourth by striking out the two batters he faced in the inning to end it, pitched 2 2/3, gave up two hits and two walks while striking out five.
"We've got to make more productive outs," Scheeter said about Miller working out of the fourth inning jam. "You're going to have strike outs and you're going make outs, but the key is can you make outs and be productive. Right there, we hit a hard ground ball, maybe its booted and we score a run off of it. You never know. That's something we have to get better at. Called third's are not productive."
Miller picked up the save for the Bearcats.
"(Cliff) struggled a bit early with his breaking stuff," Becker said. "But, overall, he did a very good job for us. He mixed his pitches up real well. Jordan Miller just came in and threw smoke. He was real effective. He basically stopped (Sikeston's) run in the fourth. Two strike outs and we were out of the inning. That was huge for us."
The Bulldogs (6-4) scored first after Keefer led off the game with a double. A sacrifice fly by McMillan scored Keefer for an early 1-0 lead for Sikeston.
Dexter bounced back in their half of the first inning when Miller drove in a run on a sacrifice and Cliff singled in Young.
A two-RBI single by Trey Tigart in the second inning put the Bulldogs back on top 3-2. The Bearcats tied it in the second when Daniel Fitts singled in a run.
"Anytime you can beat Sikeston, it's a good win," Becker said. "They have good players and good coaches over there."
The Sikeston junior varsity defeated Dexter 11-1 in five innings.
Jacob Clark earned the win pitching five innings and allowing one run on five hits and one walk. He also struck out three.
Adam Kenard led the Bulldogs with three hits. Jared Sandlin and Luke Williams had two hits as well. Sandlin's two-hit performance included a double and three RBI.
Sikeston 120 010 0 -- 4 7 3
Dexter 211 100 x -- 5 6 1
WP -- Alex Cliff. LP -- Trent McMillan. S -- Jordan Miller. 2B -- (S) Luke Keefer, Drew Harper, Cord Sheehy. Multiple hitters -- (S) Drew Harper 2-3, Sheehy 2-3. (D) Chase Young 2-3, Cliff 2-4.