The big game for the local crowd came last night when Southwest Ozarks, with players from Monett, Aurora and Marionville, took on SEMO South, also known as Charleston or the Fighting Squirrels. The outing proved to be a disappointment for the locals as SEMO won 11-0.
"SEMO won the Babe Ruth World Series last year," said Monett's coach Charlie Steward. "When you win the World Series, that means you're one of the eight best of literally thousands of Babe Ruth teams across the country, including Hawaii."
Past record was not enough to beat the Monettans. Steward gave most of the credit to SEMO's pitcher, Hunter Cook, who pitched the first four innings.
"We weren't going to score on him," Steward said. "The pitcher was stronger than anything we saw all summer. But really we beat ourselves. We didn't make the plays."
At the top of the third inning, SEMO was ahead 3-0. Steward said with the home teams' bats staying silent, the visitors chipped away at the score, inching upward.
Under Babe Ruth rules if one team is ahead by 10 runs after five innings, the game ends. Southwest Ozarks/Monett is looking for a better outcome in its next outing at 7:30 p.m. today against Cassville.
Cassville faced MABA/ Mineral Area earlier in the day and went down 15-3. Kirk Verhoff, president of the Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League watched the game and said MABA came out swinging, scoring five runs in the first inning, five in the third and five in the fifth.
"Cassville went through four pitchers trying to figure out a way to stop them," said Verhoff.
Southwest Ozarks/Monett has played Cassville three times this season, winning twice and losing once.
"It should be a real good game," Steward said.
The opening game of the tournament against Boonville and Sikeston was the only one to go the full seven innings. Sikeston scored three runs in the first inning and made a strong defensive stand in the next two. In the fourth inning, Boonville scored 11 runs.
"It was unbelievable," Verhoff said, keeping the scoring statistics. "Every hit was up the middle, over the pitcher's head, or just under the glove of the fielder. Around seven hits brought in the scores."
Sikeston was not able to stage enough of a rally to come back, leaving the final score at 12-5 in Boonville favor.
Sara Childress sang the National Anthem for the opening game and Michaela Wallace did the honors during the opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Mayor Jim Orr threw out the first pitch at the first game. Sportscaster Ned Reynolds did the same honor for Monett's home game and even introduced some of the players in the first inning.
"The first day went really well," said Verhoff. "The brackets have a nice time lapse between games, giving everyone time to move in and out with ease. We're only using one field so parking is easy."
Helping to entertain the crowd was Louie, the Springfield Cardinals mascot, who helped distributed T-shirts and hats. A dance performance was also provided by the Monett High School Pizzazz Poms dance team. Brad Hawkins, a certified pyrotechnician, provided a 30-second fireworks display at the end of the opening ceremony.
Action resumed at 1:30 p.m. today when Sikeston took on Camdenton, which had a first-round bye. MABA played SEMO South at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, action starts in the loser's bracket at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The winner's bracket game is at 4:30 p.m.
The championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday.