Cape team wins first district since '95

Saturday, July 26, 2003

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- Cape Girardeau Ford and Sons American Legion baseball team put an exclamation point on its first district title since 1995.

Ford and Sons, the top seed in the six-team District 14 tournament, wrapped up the championship Friday by routing second-seed Dunklin County 13-0 in seven innings due to the mercy rule.

Cape, which won all three of its tournament games, will carry a 25-14 record into next week's zone tournament in St. Louis.

Dunklin County, which earlier Friday beat Chaffee 10-1 in the losers bracket final, finished with a 15-19 record. Dunklin County had won five of the last six district titles.

"This is what it's all about. We really had a good tournament, especially the last two games. I think we're ready for the zone," Cape manager Tom Reinagel said.

"We kind of slumped at the end of the regular season, losing our last three games, but we picked it up again in the tournament."

Cape banged out 14 hits -- after having 20 against Dunklin County in Thursday's winners bracket final -- and played errorless defense while turning two double plays.

Seth Hudson led the way with four hits, giving him eight in his last two games. He also scored four runs.

"This is awesome, what we've been working for all year," Hudson said. "We wanted to come out smoking and that's what we did."

Chris Conrad had three hits and drove in three runs. Patrick Slattery, Aaron Dohogne and Josh Ford all added two hits. Slattery and Dohogne both had two RBIs.

Lee Essner was dominant on the mound, pitching the seven-inning shutout. He allowed just four hits while striking out 11, walking three and hitting two batters.

"Early I didn't feel good. It's the first time I've thrown in 11 days and I was rusty," Essner said. "But we had a big lead, and I was able to throw mainly fastballs.

"We knew Cape hadn't won the district in quite a while, so now we're part of history."

Cape, the visiting team on the scoreboard, jumped on top right off the bat by scoring three runs in top of the first. Hudson and Slattery both had hits in the frame.

Ford and Sons got another run in the third inning to make it 4-0 then began to break the game open by scoring two runs in the fourth for a 6-0 lead.

Cape got three more runs in the fifth and tacked on four in the sixth to go up 13-0.

mmishow@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 132

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