The Missouri State Cal Ripken 10-and-under Championship continued on Friday at Cassville. Sikeston and SEMO North continued their march toward a Saturday showdown in the winner's bracket, and four teams saw their season end in loser's bracket games.
Sikeston crushed Macon 14-2, and SEMO North downed Mineral Area 9-2 in the 4 p.m. winner's bracket games to earn berths on Saturday. That left the other six teams to battle for the two survivor spots in the loser's bracket.
In the 6 p.m. elimination games, Carthage, a small but skilled fielding team, pulled away late to beat Mississippi Valley, 15-9. Cassville, the host team, came from behind to beat South Central, 10-8.
Trey Sturgell scored on Devon Russell's fielder's choice RBI in the first inning to give Cassville an early lead, but South Central responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 lead. Jordan Greenstreet's leadoff single in the second frame became a run on Jacob Crouthamel's RBI to cut the lead to 3-2.
South Central scored twice in the bottom of the second and loaded the bases against Cassville's starter, Sturgell. Greenstreet came on in relief with Cassville's season teetering on the brink.
Greenstreet struck out SC's David Laub on a three-two count to get out of the inning trailing by just 5-2.
Cassville scored a pair in the third inning, but South Central reclaimed one in their next at bat to make it a 6-4 game. Then the home town team scored three runs in both the fourth and fifth frames to take a 10-6 lead. Cassville's fourth-inning runs came on a bevy of hits, while four walks contributed heavily to their fifth-inning scoring.
Meanwhile, Greenstreet owned the South Central lineup. After striking out Laub to douse the bases-loaded scoring threat in the second inning, Greenstreet racked up nine more strikeouts while only allowing one South Central run in the next three at bats.
The game got a little interesting in the bottom of the sixth and final inning, as SC scored twice to cut the lead to 10-8 with only one out. But Greenstreet's fastball overpowered both Tyler Wehrer and Laub to run his strikeout total to 12 as Cassville survived, 10-8.
Carthage moved on to defeat Macon in their 8 p.m. lower-bracket contest, and Cassville returned to Field #7 to face Mineral Area. It was one of those "learning experience" games, the kind of game that coaches say builds character. Mineral Area defeated their hosts 23-0.
Cassville finished its season with the bookend shutouts in the tournament but had a great run to reach the second level of the state playoffs.
"We knew going in we were a little overmatched against some of these teams," said Coach Shannon Haney, "but the kids played hard and did the best they could."