Jackson makes quick work of Dunklin County

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Post 158 handed the District 14 leader its first loss in league play.

Jackson American Legion coach Mark Lewis wants his team to be playing its best baseball once the playoffs begin.

With only one week left before the district tournament, it looks like his team is listening. Jackson posted its ninth straight victory with a 15-1 rout of District 14 leader Dunklin County on Saturday at Jackson.

Jackson (20-12) improved its district mark to 2-2, while Dunklin County finished its district schedule with a 4-1 record. Jackson's final district game will be Monday at Scott County.

"We've been playing well the last couple of weeks," Lewis said. "I think it's more us finally playing like we're capable rather than above our standards. Hopefully this will continue."

On a hot day at Legion Field, it appeared Dunklin County's pitchers simply came apart in the heat. Dunklin starter Dylan Gurley pecked away at the strike zone during his 1 2/3 inning stint, looking dejected on the mound as he walked five batters before coming out.

Unlike his counterparts, Jackson starter Jason Meystedt went right at the Dunklin hitters. In only one of his seven innings did Meystedt face more than four hitters.

"I felt their pitchers were nibbling and our pitcher was coming right at them," Lewis said.

Meystedt limited Dunklin County to just three hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out three. Jackson's defense also was solid behind him, turning a pair of double plays with just one error.

On offense, Jackson battered three Dunklin County pitchers for 12 hits. Meystedt led the way with three hits, including two doubles and four RBIs. Brandon Cooper, Chad Minson and Geoff Enders added two hits apiece.

Rex Meyr and Tyler Beussink each reached three times apiece with two walks and a hit for each. Cooper also had four RBIs and Minson added three.

"We banged it out all the way around one through nine," Lewis said. "There were some great at-bats we got from Derrick Biri and Rex Meyr. Both had 10-pitch at bats in the same inning. That kills a pitcher."

Jackson trailed 1-0 after the top of the first with Eric Dent driving in a run on a fielder's choice. The lead was short-lived, as Jackson responded with two runs in the bottom of the first on a two-run double from Meystedt.

Jackson tallied three more runs in the second inning, and it put the game away with seven runs in the third inning. Jackson finished its scoring with three runs in the fourth, two of which were unearned.

It will be a busy final week for Jackson, with four doubleheaders scheduled for the final week of the regular season. The district tournament will start the following week at Dunklin County. Since Jackson is hosting one of the state's four zone tournaments, it will automatically qualify for the zone, which starts July 28.

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