Post 63 edges Post 369 in sloppy ballgame

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ Cape shortstop Blake Smith held up on a double play attempt after forcing out Scott County base runner Blake Dirnberger Tuesday, June 24, 2008, at Capaha Field. Cape won 8-7.

Cape Girardeau Post 63 starting hurler Garrett Stevens described his team's American Legion District 14 baseball game against Scott County on Tuesday using one word -- sloppy.

The game featured a lot of offense and some poor defense as Post 63 and Scott County Post 369 combined for 21 hits, seven errors and exchanged the lead six times through the first six innings.

But Cape Girardeau got some timely defense and pitching when it needed it the most in the top of the seventh inning while ahead by two runs.

Despite Stevens allowing three hits and four baserunners in the seventh, the right-handed pitcher escaped with an 8-7 win at Capaha Field.

Third baseman Zach Plott made a strong defensive play in the inning with one out, runners on second and third and Cape leading by one. He backhanded a ground ball hit to him then threw home to cut down Scott County runner Cody Carlyle, who was sprinting to the plate. Stevens recorded a lineout to shortstop to the end the game.

"We didn't play good defense the whole game, but we played good defense when we really needed to," Post 63 coach David Meyr said. "Garrett threw pretty well and made some big pitches when we needed them. ... Zach has played a really good third base for us all year. He makes good decisions there. He plays like a senior. Very few balls get by him. He has a good arm and he made a good decision to go home with it. Josh [Compas] made a good tag on the kid, and it was just a good play all around."

Plott didn't hesitate as he fired the ball to home plate.

KIT DOYLE ~ Cape Girardeau catcher Josh Compas tagged out Scott County baserunner Cody Carlyle for the second out in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday at Capaha Field.

"I knew I needed to get the ball home to keep the tying run from scoring," Plott said. "It was just my first reaction to get the ball home as quick as I could."

Scott County coach Denver Stuckey had a good view of Plott's play, and was impressed.

"It might look routine from the stands, but from playing third, I can tell you that last play he made in the last inning was very difficult to backhand and throw on the run -- a strike to the plate -- to get the guy out," Stuckey said. "They made the plays to win the game. My hat goes off to them."

Cape Girardeau had a meeting on the mound in the midst of its jam in the seventh, with Meyr telling Stevens to keep the ball down to try to get a ground ball.

KIT DOYLE ~ Scott County's Ryan Essner safely stole second base, avoiding the tag of Cape Girardeau second baseman Hide Tanaka.

Stevens said he struggled throwing his changeup, but felt his fastball and curveball were strong. He added it was nice to beat Scott County after losing all five meetings the teams played against each other last year.

"They are a big rival," Stevens said. "Last year we had some big problems with them. We couldn't beat them. So it's nice to get ahead of them this year, but they have a lot of weapons that are coming back that aren't here tonight. ... We had some revenge to get back on them."

Stuckey said he was not unhappy with how his team played.

"I thought we played well," Stuckey said. "Levi [Felter] battled for us on the mound. ... It definitely wasn't his best outing, but Levi's going to compete, he's going to throw strikes. He's not going to strike out a lot of guys. You never have to worry about him not giving his best effort. And he gave us a chance to win the game."

Post 63 center fielder Steven Houseman pulled in a pop fly Tuesday at Capaha Field.

Scott County took a 1-0 lead in the first when Blake Dirnberger smashed a triple into the gap in right-center field and scored on an error.

Cape Girardeau claimed a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning off Felter. Leadoff hitter Hide Tanaka tripled into the gap in right center. Brady James followed with an infield single that scored Tanaka. Stevens then singled to left and Plott reached on an infield single. Adam Smithey stroked a two-run double to wrap up the inning's scoring.

Scott County cut the deficit to 3-2 in the second when it scored on a throwing error by Stevens. Scott County then took a 4-3 lead in the third inning on two more unearned runs. Felter singled to lead off the inning, and scored with two outs when Tanaka and Compas failed to catch a pop up in shallow right field. Cody Carlyle then stroked an RBI double to left.

"It was pretty sloppy," Stevens said. "We kicked the ball around in the infield a bunch. I even kicked the ball around in the infield, so I have no one to blame but myself."

Cape Girardeau scored three runs in the sixth to claim the lead for good. With one out, Adam Kelley singled and Blake Smith doubled. James added an RBI single to left to score Kelley and tie the game 6-6. Stevens grounded to shortstop Kody Campbell, who bobbled it, allowing Smith to score to make it 7-6. Plott then grounded to second allowing Tanaka to score to make it 8-6

"It went back and forth just like a regular high school game would, so it was a lot of fun," Stevens said.

The non-district game ended too late to be included.

Scott County1120021--7112
Cape Girardeau300203x--8135

WP -- Garrett Stevens. LP -- Levi Felter. 3B -- Hide Tanaka (C), Adam Kelley (C), Blake Dirnberger (SC). 2B -- Josh Debrock (SC), Cody Carlyle (SC), Chris Asmus 2 (SC), Blake Smith (C). Multiple hits -- Cape Girardeau: Tanaka 3-3, Brady James 2-3, Adam Smithey 2-3, Adam Kelley 3-3; Scott County: Felter 2-4. Dirnberger 2-4, Carlyle 2-4, Asmus 2-4.

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