Jacob Donze got Perryville off to a big start, but Michael Taylor helped Cape Girardeau Ford and Sons finish strong.
Impressive performances by those two American Legion pitchers were major parts of an entertaining doubleheader Monday night at Capaha Field. Perryville won the opener 3-0 and Cape rallied to take the nightcap 7-5.
Cape is now 6-6 after the pair of seven-inning, non-district games, while Perryville is 4-6.
"We fought and really played with effort," Perryville coach Don O'Keith said. "It would have been nice to win both games, but Cape is a very good team. They have a lot of talent."
Donze, a left-hander who will be a senior at Ste. Genevieve High School in the fall, blanked Cape in the opener, as he scattered six hits while striking out two and walking four. He caused Ford and Sons to strand eight runners.
"Right now, he's our No. 1 pitcher," O'Keith said. "He pitched very well, and defensively we made some plays."
Cape left-hander Blake Essner virtually matched Donze pitch for pitch, allowing just four hits while fanning three and walking two in a strong outing. But Perryville broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the sixth inning.
"Blake pitched very well, but so did their pitcher, and you have to give them credit," Cape head coach Dave Meyr said.
Ford and Sons got its bats going in the nightcap, banging out 11 hits, to overcome an early 5-1 deficit.
Taylor came in to stop the bleeding in the fifth, at which time Cape still trailed 5-3. He retired all nine batters he faced -- with two strikeouts -- to notch the victory when Ford and Sons rallied.
Taylor, a side-winding 6-foot-6 right-hander, is a product of Shawnee (Ill.) High School. A freshman who redshirted at Southeast Missouri State this year, Taylor has been used as Cape Legion's relief specialist the past three years.
"I've gotten kind of used to that role and I like it," said Taylor, who believes he might also wind up being employed in that capacity with Southeast down the road.
Said Meyr: "It's nice to bring somebody in that you know is probably going to shut them down."
Trailing 5-3, Cape went ahead for good with a three-run fifth. Scott Brueckner led off with a double and scored on Trevor Irwin's one-out single. Kent Deason singled, then he and Irwin pulled off a double steal. Irwin scored the tying run on Lance Young's ground out, then Deason plated the go-ahead tally on Tony Leuckel's single.
Cape added an insurance run in the sixth, which was more than enough for Taylor, who came on in relief of starter Anthony Wulfers. Wulfers gave up nine hits and five runs in four innings, although three of the runs were unearned.
"We just told them to not quit and keep battling," Meyr said. "It was nice to come back like that."
Brueckner went 3-for-4 to lead Cape's 11-hit attack in the nightcap. He was 4-for-8 in the doubleheader. Deason added two hits in the second game.
Donze went 3-for-4 to lead Perryville in the nightcap, while Alex Armbruster had two hits. Cory Buerck suffered the loss.
Sean Bard, who recently completed a strong freshman season at Mineral Area College, doubled twice in the opener for Cape. He finished the night 3-for-6 with three doubles. Zac Hudson also had two hits in the opener and was 3-for-5 on the night.
Armbruster's one-out triple in the sixth inning of the opener scored Jacob Greminger, who reached on an infield single, to put Perryville ahead 1-0, which was all Donze needed, although his teammates gave him two insurance tallies.
Cape visits Festus today for a 6 p.m. nondistrict game, then resumes District 14 play Wednesday when Dunklin County comes to Capaha Field for a 5 p.m. doubleheader.