CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Jackson Senior Babe Ruth baseball coach Tracy Wyatt expected to field a strong team this summer.
It's taken longer than Wyatt anticipated, but Jackson finally appears to be putting together things.
Jackson continued its surprising run at the Missouri Senior Babe Ruth state tournament Monday by routing Boonville 11-1 in five innings.
Jackson began the nine-team, double-elimination event Saturday with a 7-2 win over tournament host Charleston, the defending state champion.
"We had a real bad season, but the tournament is working out good," Wyatt said.
Good enough that Jackson finds itself in today's 1 p.m. winners bracket final against tournament favorite Poplar Bluff.
"I feel very good about it," Wyatt said. "They're all pumped up. They're all believing in themselves for a change."
Jackson entered the tournament with an 8-32 record. Wyatt said that largely can be explained by many of his key players being unavailable for various reasons.
"A lot of them had to work and some were injured during the season," he said. "We had a hard time getting a team together to play. Now everybody is getting time off to play at tournament time. I thought it was a great team. I always knew the potential was there."
Austin Godwin, who is from New Madrid and only joined the squad about a month ago, pitched all five innings Monday for the victory.
Colby Brown and Jon Winkler both doubled and drove in two runs. Alex Green scored twice.
"Everybody is hitting now," Wyatt said.
Brown and Green played on a solid Perryville High School team this year, as did Ross Moldenhauer, the winning pitcher Saturday against Charleston.
Jake Dobbelare, an all-stater who was the top player for Perryville High School this year, also is on the Jackson team, but a hamstring injury will keep him out of the tournament.
Wyatt knows Jackson faces a tall order today against Poplar Bluff, which has a 35-4 record and went 4-0 against Jackson this year.
"They were by far the favorite" entering the tournament, Wyatt said. "All the coaches had them as the favorite, including myself. They're just good."
But Wyatt believes Jackson, which now is fielding a fairly full roster, has a legitimate shot.
"It should be a good game. We've been in the game with Bluff every single time," Wyatt said.
Winkler, a left-hander from Saxony Lutheran High School, will start on the mound for Jackson today.
Today's winner advances to Wednesday's 6 p.m. championship round where it would need just one more victory to claim the championship and earn a regional berth.
The loser will play again at about 7 p.m. today in the losers bracket final and would need three more wins to capture the crown.