Smith rallies Cape past Jackson

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Post 63's Blake Smith drives in the game-winning run with a single during the seventh inning of Monday's first game against Jackson at Capaha Field. (LAURA SIMON ~ lsimonsemissourian.com)

Blake Smith acknowledged that things didn't look good for the Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons Post 63 American Legion baseball team with the way Chris Kirkpatrick was pitching.

Jackson Post 158's Kirkpatrick allowed only an infield single through three otherwise perfect innings that ended with Jackson ahead 4-0. He carried a three-hitter and a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning.

"He was mowing us down early," Smith said.

But Smith said Post 63 is good at hanging around even when things are not going its way.

"Once we get started, it's hard to stop us," Smith said. "We've been that way all year. Our team is all about coming up big."

Jackson's Kyle Reynolds slides safely into home as Post 63's Jayden Pobst reaches for the tag during the third inning of their first game Monday at Capaha Field. (LAURA SIMON ~ lsimonsemissourian.com)

Smith's walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted host Cape to an exciting 5-4 win in the opener of Monday night's doubleheader at Capaha Field.

That triumph evened Cape's District 14 record at 1-1 while dropping Jackson to 1-2.

In the nightcap, which did not count as a district game, Cape posted a rain-shortened 4-3 victory in six innings.

Cape is 14-2 overall and Jackson is 9-8. Both of Post 63's losses have been by one run.

"We lost to Sikeston [3-2 in the district opener last week] and we were kind of upset," Smith said. "It's nice to get our first district win."

Post 63's Dustin Crowden jumps out of the way of a wild pitch during the fourth inning of Monday's first game.

Kirkpatrick, a talented left-hander from Clearwater High School, had the upper hand most of the way in an attractive matchup with Cape's hard-throwing Jayden Pobst.

"They are two very good pitchers and it was a real good game," Cape assistant coach Steve Williams said.

Pobst, who fired a five-inning no-hitter against Paducah, Ky., less than a week ago, struggled early before settling down.

Pobst, an Oran High School graduate who pitched this year at perennial junior college power John A. Logan in Illinois, allowed four runs, three earned, and four hits over the first three innings. Jackson had a triple and two doubles among its first four hits.

"He's done real well all year. He had a rough first few innings, but once he settled down he shut them down," Smith said.

Post 63 players celebrate after Blake Smith, right, scores a run during the sixth inning of Monday's first game.

Pobst allowed two hits and no runs over his final three innings of work. He finished with seven strikeouts and three walks while hitting a batter.

"Early he wasn't sharp location wise, but he got better and battled," Williams said. "He gave us a chance to come back."

Trailing 4-1, Cape tied things with a three-run sixth inning that featured two hits and a key error as only one run was earned.

Skylar Cobb's two-run single made it 4-3 and Jimmy Obermark's pinch-hit sacrifice fly forged the deadlock.

After Josh Compas worked a scoreless top of the seventh -- he wound up being the winner -- Cape came up with a run in the bottom of the frame.

Andrew Williams led off by drawing a four-pitch walk and Logan Morris pinch ran. Kirkpatrick's first delivery to Tyler Glidewell was wild as Morris moved to second.

Jackson coach Mark Lewis then called on reliever Cody Heisserer, and Cape went to pinch hitter Jeremy Essner. Heisserer walked Essner and Jake Pewitt grounded into a fielder's choice, leaving runners on first and third with one out.

Smith, whose sixth-inning single was a key hit in that frame, grounded Heisserer's first pitch cleanly into right field as Morris eased home with the winning run.

Smith, a Central High School graduate who played at Florissant Valley Community College in St. Louis this year, said he wasn't necessarily looking to swing at the first pitch.

"I saw a good pitch to hit. I was trying to go that way [right] all day," he said.

Kirkpatrick, the tough-luck loser, allowed three earned runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked two.

"I think he might have gotten tired, but I think they just did a good job of hitting," Lewis said. "We had a good approach [against Pobst] but he settled down, kept them in the game and allowed their offense to come back. It was an excellent game."

Jordan Devenport and Logan Bartels both had two of Jackson's seven hits. Smith had two of Cape's six hits.

"It took us a while to get our bats going but we had some big hits late," Williams said. "Jackson has a good ballclub. We knew that."

In the nightcap, Cape again scored three sixth-inning runs to go ahead 4-3. Dustin Crowden's two-run triple tied things and Morris put Post 63 on top with an RBI fielder's choice.

Jackson scored five runs in the top of seventh to lead 8-4 but heavy rain forced the game to be stopped.

When play could not resume, the contest reverted back to the end of six innings and Cape was awarded the non-district victory. Starter Tanner Hiett was the winner.

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