(DUSTIN WARD ~ Daily Dunklin Democrat)
Jackson, which scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at 6-6, never retired a Dunklin County hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Trouble started for Jackson in the final frame when Dustin Spencer drew a leadoff walk on a full count against Jackson starter Steven Eddy. Hunter Cook followed by reaching base on an infield error when Jackson's third baseman booted a potential double-play ball.
Cody Boyers then was given orders to bunt early in his at-bat, but he smacked a game-winning double to center field on a 3-2 count after failed bunt attempts. Jackson center fielder Lane Thompson dived to his right in deep center and came within a foot of catching Boyers' hit.
"Sometimes it helps to be more lucky than good," Dunklin County coach Jamie Johnson said. "We got a break our way right there. Boyers hadn't hit in about two weeks, and he did a good job of putting the ball in play."
Boyers said: "I was praying it was going to get down because I didn't get my bunts down. He gave me one right down the middle. I put the barrel on the ball and good things happened."
Dunklin County, which is the defending District 14 regular-season and tournament champion, improved to 3-1 in district play. Jackson, which is the only team to defeat Dunklin County in district play this season, dropped to 3-2.
Dunklin County led 6-0 entering the sixth inning, but Jackson (22-13) erased the deficit when it scored six runs on four hits and two Dunklin County errors in the frame. Dunklin County starting pitcher Zach Watkins was lifted after allowing a leadoff single to Laban Petzoldt in the inning.
Watkins allowed only one hit before the sixth inning and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
"I thought he threw great," Johnson said. "We took him out because he had a little tightness. We wanted to shut him down early so he didn't hurt anything, but he did a great job today."
Dunklin County's Logan Blackburn finished the sixth inning, but not before five Jackson batters drove in a run.
Jackson's Cody Harris and Ian Householder had run-scoring singles, while Caleb Rowald picked up an RBI when he drew a bases-loaded walk. Joel Koenig and Cole Blanton drove in runs on ground outs.
"I like the way we battled back," Jackson coach Mark Lewis said. "We gave up some runs early and didn't play defense real well. To battle back was great. It was a good ballgame."
Dunklin County (15-10) threatened to retake the lead in its half of the sixth after its first two hitters reached base on a single and an error. Blackburn then bunted the runners to second and third.
Eddy got Dunklin County's No. 3 hitter Logan Carter and cleanup hitter Jacob Trammel to pop out on the infield to extinguish the threat.
"That might have spent him a little bit," Lewis said. "He was up in pitch count. He made some good pitches in the sixth inning and gave us a little bit of momentum, but then we didn't really do anything with the sticks in the seventh, and they did."
Eddy suffered the complete-game loss. He allowed 12 hits and struck out five over six-plus innings.
Jackson won the second game 11-3.