Missouri Bulls baseball team enjoys home cooking in 'road' game vs. Cape Girardeau American Legion

Thursday, July 19, 2012
Cape Girardeau pitcher Alex Davie delivers to a Bulls batter during Wednesday's game at Capaha Field. Check out more photos from the game at semoball.com. (ADAM VOGLER)

The Lids Missouri Bulls 18-under baseball team spends most of the summer on the road participating at tournaments in various states.

The Cape Girardeau-based Bulls, who are made up of players from high schools throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois, relished the opportunity to compete close to home Wednesday night.

"It's the first game we've had in town," said Ramsey Scott, who will be a senior at Central High School this year. "It's nice to not travel as much for a change."

The Bulls took advantage of a break from the road by beating the Ford & Sons Cape Girardeau Post 63 Senior American Legion team 6-2 in a nine-inning matchup at Capaha Field.

"It's good to be back in town playing a quality team," Bulls coach Todd Pennington said. "We play in tournaments, usually from Thursday through Sunday, nearly every weekend."

Cape Girardeau shortstop Logan Henson throws to first after tagging second base for a force out on Bulls baserunner Daniel Lockhert during Wednesday's game at Capaha Field. (ADAM VOGLER)

Pennington, a former All-American at Southeast Missouri State who pitched in the minor leagues, was back in familiar territory. Pennington coached Post 63 the past three years. He helped revive a once-proud program that had fallen on hard times.

"Being back at Capaha ... I miss it," Pennington said. "I'm glad to come back and see all the kids and the coaches."

Scott said he likes playing for the Bulls and receiving the exposure he gets participating for a squad set up to compete in various showcase tournaments in front of college and pro scouts.

"It's a bunch of good guys," Scott said.

Scott said he and his teammates, several of whom hail from area high schools Notre Dame, Scott City and Oran, know many of the Post 63 players well.

Cape Girardeau second baseman Alex McRaven catches a pop fly during Wednesday's game.

"It's fun to play against them," Scott said. "It's a little bit of a rivalry, but I'm friends with them."

The Bulls (22-8) continued their strong summer with a hard-earned win. They trailed 2-1 until going ahead for good in the sixth inning.

"We've had some success, won some tournaments," Pennington said. "It was also good to have a chance to play a game like this tonight."

Cape coach Steve Williams, a former Southeast All-American and minor league player like Pennington, had no complaint about his team's effort even though Post 63 continues to struggle.

Post 63 (15-27) has lost 21 of its past 24 games.

"They're a good ballclub. They've got good arms," said Williams, whose squad begins the four-team District 14 tournament in Jackson at 4 p.m. Friday against the host club. "Our main goal was to get ready for Friday."

Cape was strong through five innings with two of its top pitchers on the mound.

Alex Davie allowed an unearned run and two hits over the first three innings. Travis Smith gave up three hits over two shutout innings.

"They both threw well," said Williams, who limited his hurlers' innings with an eye on the district tournament. "We didn't throw anybody too long. That was the goal. Everybody got the work they needed."

After the Bulls scored an unearned run in the second inning, Cape went ahead in the third inning with both its runs on three of its six hits.

Logan Henson and Alex McRaven singled with one out. Brent Taylor plated them both with a triple to right-center.

Things remained 2-1 until the sixth inning, when the Bulls went ahead for good against losing pitcher Andrew Williams.

Daniel Lockhert and Adam Grantham, both from Kennett High School, delivered RBI doubles.

The Bulls broke open the game with three runs in the seventh inning. The big blow was a two-RBI single by Grantham. Williams allowed one of the runs in the frame and Aaron Wendel two.

"They held us down for a while," said Pennington, whose team had eight of its 13 hits in the sixth and seventh innings.

Four Bulls pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts.

"Our pitching staff is what puts it together," Scott said. "They've picked us up all year."

Grantham, who was drafted in the 32nd round by the Atlanta Braves this year but did not sign and instead will play for Arkansas State, had three hits and three RBIs.

Grantham also pitched the first two innings. He allowed no hits and no runs. He struck out three and walked three.

Sikeston High School's Trey Tigart was credited with the win despite giving up both runs and five hits over three innings.

Adam Pennington, a left-hander who will be a senior at Shawnee (Ill.) High School, was the Bulls' most dominant hurler.

Pennington, coach Pennington's brother who pitched for Post 63 last year, struck out six over three hitless innings.

"They've been pitching well all year," Todd Pennington said about his mound corps.

Scott, Lockhert and Brett Dirnberger, who will be a senior at Scott City High School, all added two hits for the Bulls.

The Bulls also sparkled defensively. They turned three double plays during an errorless performance.

Taylor paced Cape with two hits. Kyle Thompson, Post 63's fifth and final hurler, struck out the side in the ninth inning.

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