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Cape Girardeau Senior Legion shuts out Sikeston
Travis Smith came close to not even playing organized baseball this summer.
The Ford & Sons Cape Girardeau Senior American Legion Post 63 team is glad that didn't happen.
Smith continued his impressive pitching Wednesday night by firing a two-hit shutout to beat visiting Sikeston 7-0 in the District 14 opener of a doubleheader at Capaha Field.
Cape (12-6) also captured the non-district nightcap 13-3. The game was stopped after the top of the fifth inning by the 10-run rule.
Post 63 is 2-0 in district play. Smith has earned both victories.
"He's done real well for us," Cape coach Steve Williams said. "He's such an easy-going kid, a great kid."
Smith, a recent graduate of Anna-Jonesboro (Ill.) High School, said he had no team in his immediate area to play for.
But two of Smith's prep teammates, Brent Taylor and Alex McRaven, already were lined up to compete for Post 63. That led to Smith also joining the squad.
"I wasn't even going to play until Brent said something about playing here," Smith said. "I'm glad he did. I like it over here."
Smith, a right-hander who will continue his baseball career at Shawnee (Ill.) Community College, was in complete control Wednesday.
Sikeston (6-15) never had more than one runner on base in any of the seven innings.
"Travis pitched his butt off," Williams said.
Nathan Maynard got a two-out infield single in the third inning and Austin Hatchel grounded a clean single up the middle to lead off the seventh inning for Sikeston's hits.
"Travis was locked in. He was throwing strikes, getting ahead," Cape catcher Ryan Siebert said. "That's what you have to do to win a ballgame."
Smith struck out two and walked two.
"I threw my fastball a lot more than anything today. I didn't throw a lot of offspeed pitches," said Smith, who beat Jackson 4-3 in last week's district opener.
Smith benefited from strong defense Wednesday. Cape did not commit an error while turning in two highlight-reel plays.
Both were recorded by third baseman Jesse Schott, who took away sure hits with diving stops on ground balls to his left. He quickly got to his feet and threw for the outs.
"Those were great plays," Williams said. "If we can play defense, we'll be fine."
Post 63 also had plenty of offense. It pounded four doubles and a triple among its 10 hits.
Siebert, a recent Central High School graduate who will continue his baseball career at Lindenwood-Belleville in Illinois, had the big bat.
Siebert went 4 for 4 with a double and three RBIs.
"He's swung it pretty good all summer, but he's locked in right now," Williams said. "We hit a lot of balls hard."
Said Siebert: "I've been swinging it pretty good. I feel comfortable."
Cape wasted no time taking control by scoring three runs in the first inning. The first three batters hit safely.
McRaven led off with a double, Siebert singled and Trey Gardner ripped a two-RBI triple. Gardner came home on a wild pitch.
Post 63 made it 4-0 in the second inning on Siebert's RBI single. Siebert's RBI double and Gardner's RBI single in the fourth inning bumped the advantage to 6-0.
Cape rounded out the scoring on Siebert's RBI single in the sixth inning.
Gardner added two hits and three RBIs for Post 63.
Ronnie Scott pitched four innings for the second-game victory. Logan Henson finished with a scoreless fifth inning.
Cape had 10 hits, led by Kyle Thompson going 3 for 3. Jeff Gates had two hits and four RBIs.