Jackson jumps on Cape errors in Senior American Legion district opener

Sunday, July 22, 2012
Ford & Sons Post 63 second baseman Alex McRaven leaps to avoid Jackson Post 158’s Chase Simmons in an attempt to turn a double play during their District 14 tournament game Friday in Jackson. Post 158 won 15-4. (ADAM VOGLER)

Post 158 scored 10 unearned runs in a 15-4 victory in the first round of the district tourney

Steven Eddy said he has been battling a bout of mononucleosis that has left him weak.

But he said he felt strong Friday, which was perfect timing for the Jackson Senior American Legion Post 158 pitcher.

Eddy struggled some early but settled down to fire a complete game in the opening round of the four-team, double-elimination District 14 tournament.

Eddy received plenty of support from the offense. Second-seeded Jackson routed third-seeded Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons Post 63 15-4 at Legion Field.

The contest, scheduled for nine innings, was stopped after seven innings by the 10-run rule.

"We came out kind of pumped, and Steven pitched a good game," Jackson's Alex Bolen said.

Post 158 coach Mark Lewis said Eddy has been as effective as any of his pitchers most of the season despite a lack of notoriety.

"He's thrown as well this summer as any pitcher we've got," Lewis said. "He's been sick. For him to come out and throw well was good."

Eddy said Lewis told him Thursday that he would start on the mound for host Jackson's tournament opener. Eddy hoped he would feel better and got his wish.

"I've been real tired lately," said Eddy, who will be a senior at Jackson High School this year. "Today I woke up and felt good."

Eddy scattered 10 hits, while striking out three and walking two. He allowed six of the hits and all four runs over the first three innings but blanked Cape over the final four frames.

"My curveball was working and I was spotting my fastball," Eddy said. "My defense played really good. It's always a good feeling to beat Cape."

Jackson had just one error, that coming in the seventh inning when the game was out of reach. Post 158 center fielder Lane Thompson made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch in the fifth inning.

While Jackson's defense was strong, Cape's defense continued to struggle. That has been a theme for Post 63, which suffered its 22nd loss in its past 25 contests.

Cape committed six errors, resulting in 10 of Jackson's 15 runs being unearned. Two Post 63 errors in the first inning led to four unearned runs and allowed Post 158 build a 4-0 lead.

"You can't make that many errors against a good hitting team like Jackson," Cape coach Steve Williams said. "We dug ourselves too big a hole."

Jackson, the visiting team on the scoreboard, got a leadoff single by Trent Wills in the top of the first inning. Two errors allowed a run to score before Bolen belted a two-RBI triple. The fourth run came in on a ground out.

Post 63 came right back in the bottom of the first, getting a two-run homer by Jesse Schott.

Another unearned run by Jackson in the second inning made it 5-2, and Thompson's RBI double in the third inning made it 6-2.

Ryan Siebert's two-run double in the bottom of the third pulled Cape within 6-4. But Post 63 did not score again.

"He made some good pitches when he had to," Williams said about Eddy.

Bolen's RBI single in the fourth inning put Jackson up 7-4. Post 158 scored eight runs in the seventh inning to break things open. Five of the runs were unearned due to a pair of errors.

Cody Heisserer had the big blow of the frame, a three-run homer to center field that capped the uprising.

"We took advantage of their mistakes, I guess," Bolen said.

Jackson made Cape pay for its mistakes with 13 hits, including a home run, a triple and two doubles.

"I think our wood bat tournament in Kansas City [last weekend] kind of helped us," Bolen said. "Coming off wood, metal feels a lot better."

Wills went 3 for 3 and scored four runs. He also walked and was hit by a pitch to reach base in all five plate appearances.

Heisserer went 3 for 4 with four RBIs and three runs. Bolen went 3 for 5 with three RBIs.

"We came out with a good approach at the plate," Lewis said.

Schott, Siebert and Trey Gardner all had two of Cape's 10 hits. Post 63 added three doubles to go with Schott's homer.

"We hit the ball well," Williams said.

Travis Smith was the losing pitcher. He allowed seven runs -- two earned -- and nine hits in four innings. He struck out one and walked one.

"Travis was struggling a little bit, but if we make some plays we should have it's a different game," Williams said.

Aaron Wendel worked two scoreless innings before running into trouble in Jackson's eight-run seventh. He was charged with five runs, three earned, on just two hits. He issued four walks.

Kyle Thompson finished on the mound, giving up three unearned runs on two hits.

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