(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Unable to put a stop to a 13-hit effort from Scott County Junior Legion Post 369 on Wednesday, Sikeston Auxiliary Unit 114 fell 14-6 as the two teams kicked off a doubleheader.
"The effort wasn't there," Sikeston coach Matt Johnson said. "We're very short staffed. A lot of starters weren't here, but I think we used that as an out and didn't go hard. I'm hoping we'll pick it up in the second game."
Holding a slim 1-0 lead after the first inning of play, Scott County was able to rally for three runs in the top of the second inning to put Unit 114 in a four-run hole they couldn't dig out of.
Post 369 added another run in the third before Sikeston's offense finally found some life and scratched out two runs in the bottom of the frame. After scoring a combined five runs in the next inning, Scott County mounted their biggest rally of the contest in the seventh to take their largest lead of the game at 14-3.
"We battled pretty good today and scored two or three runs about every inning," Post 369 coach Zach Pobst said. "That was pretty nice."
Just when it look liked Scott County had the game in hand Sikeston put together its best rally of the night in the bottom of the seventh. Kick-starting one last Unit 114 rally, Chase Gaines drew a one-out walk before Audie Hay lined to left field to put a pair of runners on.
A bases-clearing triple by John Foster went on to plate another pair of Sikeston runs while chasing Scott County's starter. A sacrifice fly from Luke Williams brought in Unit 114's third run of the frame as they closed back to within eight runs of Post 369.
Before Scott County was in any danger of losing the game, however, a swinging third strike stranded a couple runners and ended the game, improving Scott County to 12-10 on the season.
"We are a streaky hitting team, but we can get the bats alive," Johnson said. "That's not what I'm worried about. It's out on defense we have to seal that up and with our heads hung low it's not going to happen."
Though he had a rocky start to the seventh, Post 369 starter Chance Tenkhoff had a overall strong outing and picked up the win. He allowed all six Sikeston runs on eight hits and an walk while striking out five in 6 1/3 innings of work.
On offense, Scott County out hit Sikeston 13-8 with Gaven Ray proving the ideal leadoff man. He finished the game with a 4 for 4 effort, driving in a pair of runs and scoring five times.
"He's come along the last couple of weeks here," Pobst said of Ray. "Toward the end of the season he had been struggling a little bit, but he's come along the last couple of weeks and got his batting average up."
Others helping Post 369's cause include Zane Eggiman and Dustin Gebhardt with two hits each.
For Unit 114, Haye, Foster and Matos all had two hits, including a pair of triples by Foster as he drove in three runs on the contest. Luis Matos also pitched in a triple.
"You saw when they picked it up a little bit what they could do," Johnson said, referring to the seventh inning. "We didn't play our best (in that game). We're a better team than that."
The loss leaves Sikeston at 6-13 on the year after coming back to defeat Scott County 24-4 during the second game of the doubleheader.
Scott Co. 131 230 4 - 14
Sikeston 002 001 3 - 6
WP -- Chance Tenkhoff. LP -- Luke Williams. Multiple hitters: (SC) Gaven Ray 4-4, Zane Eggiman 2-5, Dustin Gebhardt 2-4; (SK) Audie Hay 2-4, John Foster 2-3, Luis Matos 2-4. 2B -- (SC) Ray. 3B -- (SK) Foster 2, Matos.