Zone 4 American Legion baseball: Defending champ Festus subdues Cape Girardeau a day after start

Sunday, July 29, 2012
Cape Girardeau's Trey Gardner singles against Festus during the sixth inning Friday at Capaha Field. Check out more photos from the game in our gallery at semoball.com. (Fred Lynch)

Alex Davie had one of his most unusual pitching outings during the opening game of the Zone 4 Senior American Legion baseball tournament at Capaha Field.

Davie did about all Ford & Sons Cape Girardeau Post 63 coach Steve Williams could have asked, but it was not enough to take down three-time defending state champion Festus Post 253.

Festus pulled away for a 7-3 victory Friday in a game that started Thursday before being suspended by rain after three innings. There was no score at the time.

Davie started on the mound for Post 63 on Thursday by throwing three hitless innings. The left-hander came back about 20 hours later to pitch Friday.

"I've never done that before," Davie said. "But I was anxious to get back out there. Coach told me if I felt all right, I'd be throwing."

Davie said he wasn't as sharp as Thursday, but he really couldn't complain.

"I don't think my stuff was as sharp as yesterday. I was hoping we could keep playing last night," he said. "But that's the way it goes."

Davie allowed two hits in his first inning of work Friday, the top of the fourth, but escaped potential damage when he picked a runner off first base.

Tournament host Cape (17-30) and Festus (29-5) were scoreless through five innings. Festus finally broke through in the top of the sixth with two outs. Mitch Neel doubled and scored on a single by Zach Faulkner.

Festus knocked out Davie during a three-run seventh inning that was fueled when Cape misjudged a fly ball in the outfield that could have been caught but went for a leadoff double. Post 253 otherwise might not have scored during the frame.

Davie wound up allowing six hits and four runs over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three.

"Alex Davie pitched his butt off. You couldn't have asked for much more," Williams said. "I told him we'd see how he felt when he got to the park. He pitched great."

Cape, which was held hitless through five innings, made it 4-1 with its first run in the seventh. Cam Womack led off with a triple and scored on an RBI ground out by Thomas Crocetti.

Festus took advantage of another Cape defensive miscue, this one an error, to score three unearned runs in the ninth inning off Aaron Wendel to build a 7-1 lead.

That loomed large when Post 63 scored twice in the bottom of the ninth and left two runners on when the game ended.

"We made a couple of boo-boos that hurt," Williams said. "If we make those plays, it's 4-3 or 5-3 in the ninth, and then it's a ballgame. But we waited too long to get the offense going."

Cape had three of its five hits in the game during the ninth inning. RBIs came on a bases-loaded walk by Nick Essner and a fielder's choice ground ball by Kyle Thompson.

Post 63 missed out on a potential sixth-inning threat when Festus shortstop Jeremy Brown made a spectacular diving catch on a fly ball to short center field with two runners on base and one out.

Womack had two hits for Post 63. Mitch Neel delivered three of Festus' nine hits. Caleb Wilkerson doubled twice and had two RBIs. Nathan Lambert added two RBIs.

"They've got a good hitting team. They're tough," Davie said.

Wilkerson threw three hitless innings Thursday. He struck out six, but he did not return to the mound Friday.

Lambert notched the win with five solid innings.

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