Sikeston Silver Sox baseball team earns first district win over Jackson Sr. Legion 4-3

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Sikeston Silver Sox runner Derez Tipler (5) congratulates Bryce Bays (right) after the both scored a run in the first inning against Jackson Senior Legion Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston (Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)

SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Silver Sox have been a team that hasn't had much luck in close games so far this season. With a bit of late inning magic and a solid outing from starter Jarred Sandlin, the Silver Sox were able to turn that tide Wednesday night at VFW Memorial Stadium.

Sikeston reversed their fortunes after they were dealt a quick 3-0 hole, tied the game in the third and then delivered the deciding blow in the bottom of the sixth to pull off a 4-3 win over Jackson Senior Legion Post 158.

It was Sikeston's first district win inside the four-team district this season.

Sikeston Silver Sox starter Jarred Sandlin delivers a pitch to a Jackson Senior Legion batter Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston (Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)

"I think we definitely had a much better approach at the plate," said Sikeston coach Logan Hampton, who took over the team after the departure of former coach Ryan Moses on Monday. "We had guys going up, doing jobs and giving themselves up... We made plays in the outfield that we probably wouldn't have made earlier in the season. We just played fundamental baseball and came out on top."

Pulling out Wednesday's victory and the way they did it was a stark contrast from Silver Sox games of the past. Sikeston's Senior Legion baseball team has run into problems falling behind early and not putting up much of a fight to get back in it.

Wednesday, they held firm.

Jackson sent eight players to the plate and scored three runs before the Silver Sox could pick up a bat. Unlike the past, Sikeston resisted with two runs in their half of the first to cut their deficit to one after a two-run double by Dallan Stotts, who finished with two doubles, that scored both Derez Tipler and Bryce Bays.

"[Jackson] came out and set the tone, but then we turned right back around and kind of said, 'Hey, we're here and want to play baseball'," Hampton said. "I think our guys did a great job of showing that they weren't going to roll over and get steamrolled."

Sikeston Silver Sox runner Derez Tipler (middle) gets caught in a rundown while Jackson Senior Legion's Wyatt LeDure makes a throw Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston (Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)

Sikeston (5-14, 1-4) tied the game in the third after a single by Bays, Stotts' second double and a sacrifice fly from Tristen Graham.

It was the start of a stellar night for Graham, who also opened the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff double. He later advanced to third on a passed ball and scored behind a sacrifice fly from Wyatt Barnett to give the Silver Sox the eventual winning run.

Graham, a Leopold junior, made the most of his rare start in the No. 5 hole of Sikeston's lineup, according to Hampton.

"He had a big day at the plate," Hampton said. "I told him and really everybody before we batted that inning that we had to put some hits together. He went out there a cranked a double. That's all you can ask for. He had a great approach at the plate getting guys on base. It was an all-around great team effort there."

Although coughing up three quick runs, Sandlin did his job on the mound by keeping Jackson to three. After giving up three hits in the first inning, Sandlin scattered five hits the rest of the way before he was lifted in the top of the seventh.

Sikeston Silver Sox batter PJ Kennard follows through on a swing against Jackson Senior Legion Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston (Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)

Sandlin allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out and walking four.

"I think that's the best he's looked all year, if not, in a while," Hampton said about Sandlin. "He said before the game he was 'going to get that money'. I guess you could say he did."

After Sandlin gave up a leadoff single to start the seventh, Hampton immediately chose to go with Stotts in relief. And although Jackson was able to put the tying run on third and eventual go-ahead run on second, Stotts worked out of the jam with a strikeout to give Sikeston the win.

"Once that guy got on, we wanted to go to [Stotts]," Hampton said. "We stuck him in there and did what he had to do to get those last outs. Heck of a job by both of our guys on the mound."

The Silver Sox were recently dealt with two injuries to their already small roster. Jordan Klusner tore his ACL and is done for the season while Kobe Hubbert was sidelined with an arm injury. But Wednesday's win was a much-needed boost in morale for a Silver Sox team dealing with injuries, coaching changes and a district where they couldn't find a win.

Until Wednesday.

"We've definitely had some injuries throughout the year that I would say has set us back," Hampton said. "But I think this game shows we can play with anybody in the district. We just have to show up and play baseball."

Jackson coach Mark Lewis declined to comment after the game.

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