Central baseball team slays Sikeston to win district title

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Central relief pitcher Ronnie Scott, center, celebrates with his teammates after they defeated Sikeston to win the Class 4 District 1 championship Wednesday in Farmington, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

FARMINGTON, Mo. -- Central's Ramsey Scott turned the Class 4 District 1 tournament into one long, impressive introduction of himself to the Tigers' opponents.

The sophomore hit his first varsity home run in Central's opening win against Poplar Bluff.

He answered that by getting three hits, including the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh inning, against rival Jackson in the semifinal.

Then he contributed three doubles and five RBIs in four at-bats in his team's 8-6 victory over Sikeston in the championship game Wednesday.

"I'm real excited," the 6-foot-4 Scott said. "It's a dream come true. I've been working for it."

Central's Ramsey Scott watches his double that drove in two runs against Sikeston during the first inning of the Class 4 District 1 title game Wednesday in Farmington, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

Scott played off and on with the varsity team during the season, but Central coach Steve Williams started him as the designated hitter in each of the Tigers' district games.

"We knew all along he was going to hit," Williams said. "But as a sophomore, you don't want him to just hit and not play the field, not pitch.

"We wanted him to get experience this year because we wanted him to develop as a player, but at some point we knew we'd have to get his bat in the lineup. The last couple weeks we've done that and it's paid dividends."

The last of Scott's doubles, which brought home Central's final run in the bottom of the sixth inning, provided insurance for Central reliever Ronnie Scott.

"I was pumped," Ramsey Scott said. "We needed it, so I'm just happy I was the one to come through with it."

Central baserunner Sam Gerlach scores in front of Sikeston catcher Trent McMillan on a double by Ramsey Scott during the sixth inning of the Class 4 District 1 title game Wednesday. (Fred Lynch)

The two Scotts are not related, though they admitted they have told people otherwise.

Sikeston put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the seventh before Ronnie Scott got the final two outs on a sliding play by teammate Trey Gardner in right field and a strikeout.

Scott's final pitch, a curveball, froze Sikeston's Drew Harper, who was shocked to see it called strike three.

"That was definitely a good curve," Ronnie Scott said. "It started top, outer spot of the plate then came down into the middle. It was a good pitch.

"That was a good way to end the game."

Central second baseman J.T. Kratochvil throws to first base for an out during the fourth inning of Wednesday's Class 4 District 1 title game in Farmington, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

The title was Central's first in baseball since 2007, which was the last time the Tigers even won a game in district play.

Central also won a district title in boys basketball this season and made the playoffs in football.

"It's the best way to go out, making the playoffs in three sports and two district champions," said senior Andrew Hileman, who also played on the football team. "I wasn't a part of the basketball team, but I was in the Jungle."

Hileman started Wednesday's game after pitching one inning against Jackson on Tuesday.

"It feels really good getting two wins back-to-back," Hileman said. "I didn't exactly have my best stuff, but I kind of just made due with what I had."

Hileman gave up three runs on a home run by Nathan Rodgers in the first inning before pitching three scoreless innings.

"I needed to get the ball down, but I did pretty good after I gave up the home run," he said. "I kind of settled down. I was pleased."

Central tied the game in the bottom of the first inning on Hileman's RBI single and a two-run double by Ramsey Scott.

The Tigers added four runs in the third inning, the last one coming on an RBI triple by center fielder Austin Davis.

Sikeston cut the Central lead to one run with three runs in the fifth inning. Ronnie Scott replaced Thomas Crocetti on the mound with one out and one run already home.

He gave up a two-run single to Rodgers before retiring two of the next three batters to end the inning.

"It worked out to where we were able to use him against the middle of their lineup, which was really hitting the ball well today and that was an advantage for us," Williams said about Ronnie Scott, who pitched six innings against Poplar Bluff on Monday.

The win capped a busy week for the Central players, who still are in the middle of finals week at school.

"I'm so happy for our kids," Williams said. "I'm proud of them because this is a crazy week. It's been a crazy season with all the weather.

"Then this week to have to get rained out on Saturday and then have to play late games on Monday and Tuesday and get home after midnight both nights, then get back up here for a 4:30 game, that just shows the toughness of our kids. I'm so proud of them, and I'm so happy that they earned this. They really did."

The players have adjusted their schedules and will take makeup finals Thursday, something Williams said was thanks to the school administration.

"They allowed our kids to get out at 1 o'clock to be able to keep our routine," he said. "We take a little BP before we leave school, and then we come up here. They allowed us to do that, and that doesn't happen everywhere. The fact that baseball is important at Cape Central is evidenced by the fact that our administration is behind us. I know our kids appreciate that."

Central improved to 16-9 and will host the winner of Class 4 District 2 on Tuesday.

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WP -- Andrew Hileman. LP -- Trent McMillian. HR -- Nathan Rodgers (S). 3B -- Austin Davis (C). 2B -- Hileman (C), Ramsey Scott 3 (C), Luke Keefer (S). Multiple hits -- Sikeston: Keefer 2-4, Tyler Anderson 2-3, Ross Bohannon 2-3, Rodgers 2-2; Central: Andrew Williams 2-4, Hileman 2-4, Scott 3-4, Davis 2-2. Records -- Sikeston 14-7, Central 16-9.

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