Jackson wins SEMO Conference tournament

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 ~ Updated 12:19 AM
Jackson second baseman Josh Duncan comes up short while diving for a grounder Monday during the championship game of the SEMO Conference tournament against Sikeston at Capaha Field. (Kit Doyle)

Jackson scored five runs in the sixth inning after the first two batters were retired.

Pinch-hitter Travis Hurst legged out an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

It was just the opening Hurst and his Jackson teammates needed.

The Indians capitalized on four hits and two walks to score five runs in the sixth inning to beat Sikeston 6-5 and win the SEMO Conference baseball tournament title Monday at Capaha Field.

"Stuff started falling for us," Jackson senior Josh Duncan said. "It hasn't fallen for us all season, really. [We] started putting the ball in play and it started falling for us. As soon as one goes, it snowballs."

ABOVE: Jackson's Tyler Qualls is waved in to score during Monday's championship game. RIGHT: Jackson shortstop Clay Baker backpedals to catch a shallow pop fly in center field. BOTTOM: Sikeston and Jackson play in the SEMO Conference tournament final at Capaha Field.

Matt Crader delivered a rocket over the center fielder's head for a two-run triple, which pulled the Indians within a run. He was looking for a fastball and got one.

"My eyes got big when I saw it," Crader said. "I didn't think I was going to hit it that far because I was struggling all game to even get it out of the infield. But once I hit it, I knew it was going.

"It's a deep center field. I thought I hit it hard. I didn't know if he was going to get to it or not because I know he's fast. I just got lucky to get it over him."

Tyler Qualls followed the triple with a walk, setting the stage for Caleb Hosey. The Jackson senior had stepped to the plate with runners in scoring position three times before the sixth inning. He failed to deliver every time.

Until the sixth inning.

Jackson shortstop Clay Baker backpedals to make catch a shallow pop fly into center field Monday, May 4, 2009, against Sikeston in the SEMO Conference Tournament final at Capaha Field. (Kit Doyle)

"I was just looking to put the ball in play, anywhere possible that wasn't to somebody," Hosey said.

Hosey delivered a double to right field that scored two runs, giving the Indians their first lead of the game.

"He's been in situations like that, so I had a lot of confidence in him," Crader said of Hosey. "He comes through about 90 percent of the time. It was good."

Jackson took the lead with six consecutive players reaching with two outs.

"Everything was really a blur that inning," Jackson coach Rob French said. "It was just one guy after another."

Sikeston and Jackson play in the SEMO Conference Tournament final Monday, May 4, 2009, at Capaha Field. (Kit Doyle)

Hosey provided the go-ahead hit, but his night wasn't done. He'd relieved starter Drew Coleman in the fifth inning and needed to slam the door in the seventh. He allowed a one-out single, but ended the game with a strikeout of Nathan Rodgers.

"I was pumped," Hosey said of the seventh inning. "I was ready. I wanted to get 1, 2, 3."

Coleman struggled with his command, walking five and hitting one in 4 2/3 innings. Sikeston touched him for three runs in the second after he walked the leadoff batter and hit the next guy. Jayme Milam made Coleman pay by smoking a three-run homer to left field for the early lead. Sikeston tacked on two runs in the fifth on a pair of singles and pair of walks before Coleman gave way to Hosey.

"I probably could have gone four or five innings," said Hosey, who last pitched Wednesday at Notre Dame. "My arm was still a little tired. That was the perfect amount."

Hosey quieted the Bulldogs, allowing his team to rally for the title.

"I was going right at them," he said. "I wasn't trying to throw around them, just go straight up at them."


WP -- Caleb Hosey. LP -- Jordan Williams. HR -- Jayme Milam (S). 3B -- Matt Crader (J). 2B -- Josh Duncan 2 (J), Hosey (J). Multiple hits -- Jackson: Duncan 3-4. Records -- Jackson 11-10.

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