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Scott County Legion rallies for 11-10 victory
Post 369 rallied past Dunklin County with a pair of runs.
CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The Scott County American Legion baseball team has been on an offensive tear for two weeks now.
Scott County needed all the offense it could muster Tuesday night to squeeze out a District 14 victory and set up a showdown in Cape Girardeau tonight.
Post 369 rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to upend visiting Dunklin County 11-10 in the first game of a doubleheader.
Scott County received a forfeit victory in the non-district nightcap after Dunklin County's coaching staff pulled its squad off the field in the second inning following a disagreement with the umpiring crew.
Post 369 improved to 24-9 overall and 6-1 in district play. Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons is also 6-1 in the district.
Cape and Scott County meet tonight at Capaha Field in the final district game for both teams. The winner earns the top seed and a first-round bye for next week's five-team district tournament at Capaha Field.
"It's a big game and we're looking forward to it," Scott County coach Denver Stuckey said.
Defending district tournament champion Scott County made sure it will enter the showdown with a full head of steam as Post 369 has won 13 of its last 14 games.
The beginning of that hot stretch was a 9-3 district win over Cape on July 3.
Scott County entered play that night only 11-8 and with its offense in a funk. Post 369 broke out at the plate and hasn't looked back since.
"We've just been exploding offensively," Scott County's Caleb Daughhetee said. "We've been scoring a lot of runs the last few weeks.
"Overall, we've just been playing good baseball. We're picking up momentum at the right time."
In Tuesday's back-and-forth contest, Dunklin County (21-17, 2-5) rallied for a 10-9 lead entering Scott County's final chance in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Cody Dirnberger led off with a double to the left-center field fence and advanced to third on a one-out wild pitch.
Chris Asmus walked before Daughhetee laced a double to right field, scoring Dirnberger and sending Asmus to third, where Shae Simmons pinch ran for him.
Cody Carlyle walked to load the bases. That brought to the plate Blake Dirnberger, who had earlier hit one of Scott County's three home runs.
This time Dirnberger lofted a fly ball to medium right field and the speedy Simmons scored easily on the sacrifice fly to end the contest.
"I didn't hit it as far as I wanted, but I knew with Shae's speed we had a pretty good chance of scoring," Dirnberger said.
Stuckey said he felt good about his team's late situation despite the deficit.
"We've had several wins like that. Our kids are pretty confident they can come back," Stuckey said.
Scott County finished with 12 hits, including three doubles and a triple to go along with the three homers.
Tyler Beardslee homered and had three hits to pace Post 369.
Blake Dirnberger added a single in addition to his homer. He drove in four runs.
Rynn Eskew had Scott County's other home run, Cody Dirnberger doubled twice, Caleb Seyer tripled, singled and had two RBIs, and Daughhetee added two hits.
"We've been hitting the ball up and down the lineup," Daughhetee said.
Scott County starter Andy Stephens struggled with his control and lasted just three innings. He allowed five runs and four hits, while walking seven and striking out five.
Adam Urhahn was touched for five runs, four earned, and six hits in three innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Alex Chasteen received credit for the win after pitching a scoreless seventh.
Dustin Hunter homered and had two hits for Dunklin County. Chip Smith also had two hits.
Smith started and pitched into the seventh inning, allowing 10 runs, eight earned, and 11 hits. Hunter took the loss.
Scott County grabbed an early 3-0 lead, fell behind 5-4, appeared to take control with a five-run fourth that made it 9-5, then saw Dunklin County rally ahead 10-9. That set the stage for the thrilling finish.
"It was a good win for us," Stuckey said. "Hopefully we'll go to Cape and play a good game."