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Jackson American Legion baseball team rallies late to defeat Blytheville, Ark.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

(Photo)
Jackson's Cody Heisserer jogs toward home plate after hitting a solo home run against Blytheville, Ark., during Tuesday's game in Jackson. Check out more photos at semoball.com.
(ADAM VOGLER)
Jackson Post 158 Senior American Legion baseball coach Mark Lewis had two goals entering Tuesday night's regular-season finale.

Lewis came away a happy man because both goals were met.

Post 158 secured a win by rallying past the visiting Blytheville (Ark.) Casons 5-3 at Legion Field.

Lewis also got to use virtually his entire pitching staff. He sent eight hurlers to the mound as a tuneup for the District 14 tournament that Jackson will host beginning Friday.

Jackson finished an impressive regular season at 33-15, but that won't mean much Friday when Post 158 faces rival Ford & Sons Cape Girardeau Post 63 at 4 p.m. in the opening round of the four-team district tournament.

(Photo)
Jackson third baseman Cody Harris leans to snag an offline throw during Tuesday's win over Blytheville, Ark.
(ADAM VOGLER)
"We're just playing pretty good ball. We're jelling," Jackson's Chase Simmons said. "But we're really not looking at the record. Everybody's 0-0 going into the tournament."

Blytheville (20-12) had much the same approach as Jackson since the Casons also begin their postseason Friday. They used six pitchers Tuesday.

"Any time you're using a lot of arms, you never know what's going to happen," Lewis said.

Lewis wanted to see Jackson perform better at the plate, but Post 158 managed just five hits, including a home run by Cody Heisserer.

"Sometimes when you're seeing so many different arms, it's tough," Lewis said.

Jackson's biggest hit was provided by Caleb Rowald. His two-run single in the seventh inning put Post 158 ahead 4-3.

Post 158 scored three runs in the seventh inning. The only hit in the frame came off Rowald's bat. Jackson capitalized on two errors, two walks and a hit batter.

Trent Wills walked with one out, and Ryan O'Rear was hit by a pitch. They both moved up on a wild pitch, and Rowald's line-drive single to left field brought in both runners.

"I was just trying to put it in play and score one run to tie it," Rowald said. "Any time you get more than one in, it's good."

Rowald later scored on an error for some insurance.

None of Jackson's eight pitchers worked more than 1 2/3 innings.

Heisserer, Joe Elfrink, Rowald and Ian Householder started things off by all pitching a scoreless inning. Elfrink allowed the only hit among that foursome.

Clay Macke was charged with two runs on three hits over 1 2/3 innings. He walked two and hit a batter.

O'Rear was credited with the victory. He recorded the final out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning after Blytheville scored twice to forge a 2-2 tie.

O'Rear allowed a run on a hit and a walk in the seventh inning as the Casons grabbed a 3-2 lead before Jackson rallied in the bottom of the frame.

Adam James pitched a perfect eighth inning. He walked the leadoff batter in the ninth and gave way to Simmons.

Simmons, Jackson's catcher who did not pitch at Notre Dame Regional High School this year but has seen considerable action on the mound this summer, worked around a one-out single to earn the save. He got a double-play ground ball to end the contest.

"Pitching's not bad. I don't blow people away like Heisserer," Simmons said about his former Notre Dame teammate. "I just try to pitch to contact and let my defense work."

Jackson scored a run without a hit in the first inning. O'Rear drew a one-out walk, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and came home on a wild pitch.

Heisserer's leadoff homer to left field in the fourth inning made it 2-0 before both teams rallied.

"We played well," said Lewis, whose defense was solid, including a diving catch in the eighth inning by center fielder Lane Thompson.

Blytheville had six hits and committed five errors, all over the last four innings. Jackson made just one error, misplaying a hit in the outfield to allow a runner an extra base.


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