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Felter pitches Scott County past Jackson
JACKSON -- Scott County hurler Levi Felter, who pitches for the Kelly High School baseball team, said he decided to try out for the American Legion baseball team this summer for the first time because he wanted the opportunity to face better hitters.
"I want to get better for next year because I think [Kelly] has a good chance," Felter said. "We lost to Scott City by one run [in the district playoffs]. They ended up winning state, so I wanted to face a couple better batters. That way I can make myself a little better and hopefully have a better chance next year."
Felter earned his first victory on the mound this summer, tossing a complete game to help Scott County Post 369 to an 8-3 win over Jackson Post 158 at Jackson City Park.
Felter was able to escape a few jams in his seven innings while allowing three runs on eight hits and striking out four batters. He improved to 1-1.
Felter was helped out by some good defense and some clutch hitting. Seven of Scott County's eight runs came with two outs.
"They had one really good hitter from Clearwater [Jake Hime], and I just tried to keep it low on him and tried to keep it away from him," Felter said. "He hit two up the middle. One of them got caught because we had the shift on. I just tried to get ahead early and hit my spots outside and get stuff moving away from them and down."
Felter said that he was pleased with the way he hit his spots using his fastball, which he worked in with his curveball and some first-pitch changeups.
Felter was the Kelly hurler who pitched against Scott City in the Class 2 District 2 playoffs, losing 1-0. He said that game took a great deal out of him.
"I've finally gotten back on track," Felter said. "It was kind of hard to come back from something like that -- giving your all and losing by one run."
Felter said Post 369 coach Denver Stuckey and assistant coach Lance Amick, the coach at Scott City High School, attended a couple of Kelly games this spring to watch him pitch and called him a few times to ask him to try out. He said Amick also had kind words for him after the district game.
"Levi, the three times he's pitched, he has gone deep into games," Stuckey said. "I think he kind of gets more effective the more tired he gets. He changes speeds well. He'll give up hits, but he gave us a chance today, and I think he did really well. We kind of joked about it in the dugout -- he's kind of a right-handed Kenny Rogers. ... He keeps hitters off-balance, and I thought our defense did a good job of adjusting with them guys pulling the ball. I think we took a few hits away from them."
The game was tied 1-1 heading to third inning when Scott County scored four times to pull ahead 5-1. The first two runs were scored on a passed ball. Blake Dirnberger then tripled with two outs and the bases empty. Chris Asmus followed, doubling home Dirnberger. Josh DeBrock then stroked a base hit to right-center, scoring Asmus.
Dirnberger said Scott County hitters had to make adjustments against Jackson starter Chad Scroggins.
"He hits his spots real well," Dirnberger said. "He was hitting the outside corner. So what I tried to do was I [got closer] to the plate and tried to take away that outside corner and just drive the ball to the opposite field. Most of the time he started with the first-pitch fastball, so we tried to be aggressive."
Jackson got a run back in the bottom of the third to bring its deficit to 5-2. But Scott County pulled ahead 7-2 in the fourth when it took advantage of two Jackson errors. Scott County then went ahead 8-2 in the sixth.
"Before the game, I showed them our stats," Stuckey said. "We're hitting about .350 and we're averaging about eight runs a game so far. This is what we expect from our offense. We have a lot of guys who can put the ball in play. We found some holes tonight, and I thought we played pretty well offensively."
Jackson coach Mark Lewis said he thought Scroggins pitched well.
"The biggest thing for [Felter] was that he got ahead in the count and he was able to keep us off-balance just throwing different pitches -- fastball away, changeups," Lewis said. "The biggest thing was just keeping us off-balance. They have a good club."
Jackson won the second game, a non-district affair, 16-6 in six innings. Ethan Sachs was the winning pitcher. Ryan Cheney smacked a pair of doubles and drove in four runs. Ethan Devenport homered in the win.