Plans finalized for inaugural SEMO Conference Senior Baseball Showcase at Capaha Park on July 6

Photo by Alex Wallner, staff
Kennett leadoff hitter Seth Tice celebrates after scoring a run at VFW Stadium in Sikeston May 3, 2019.

SEMO Conference baseball players will have the opportunity to take the field together one more time this summer.

The first annual SEMO Conference Senior Baseball Showcase is slated to take place Monday, July 6, at Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau.

Its exciting to get the opportunity to get on the field with the boys again, Poplar Bluff senior Dawson Hanner said. Its going to be a fun day.

The decision to hold the event comes after senior baseball players were unable to have a spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year, we talk about doing something like this, Notre Dame athletic director and baseball coach Jeff Graviett said in May. And the coronavirus shutdown of sports is finally making it happen.

Seniors who were members of the Cape Central, Jackson, Sikeston, New Madrid County Central, Dexter, Notre Dame, Kennett, and Poplar Bluff baseball squads will participate in the one-day event.

"I think it's going to be great getting out there with all of those guys from different towns," Dexter senior Haden Hillis said. "It's going to be fun playing my friends from other towns. It has been a long time since most of us have played baseball. I'm lucky to be playing on a summer team right now but not everyone has been that lucky. It will be great to get back out there one last time after we lost our last year of high school ball this spring."

Coaches and athletic directors met last week to plan out a schedule for the event.

We wanted to find a way to recognize our seniors in a proper way, Kennett athletic director Jim Vaughan said.

The seniors on each squad will be assigned to one of four teams and have the opportunity to participate in two five-inning games.

Its a good opportunity to be able to get out there and play with my buddies and also against some players Ive played against my entire high school career, Poplar Bluff senior Carson Webb said.

Each team will be composed of seniors from two schools. The teams will be coached by the high school coaches of the respective schools.

Its all about the seniors having the opportunity to play baseball and be with their high school coaches one more time, Poplar Bluff baseball coach Steven Edwards said. Its going to be fun. Its more about celebrating the seniors than going out and trying to win a tournament. Its about allowing the kids to play ball and represent their high schools. We want the seniors to have one more go around together and have a good time.

The seniors of Cape Central and Sikeston will join together to take on the seniors from Notre Dame and New Madrid County Central in the opener at 1 p.m.

Poplar Bluff and Kennett will take on Cape Central and Sikeston at 3 p.m. Notre Dame and New Madrid County Central will take on Jackson and Dexter at 5 p.m. Poplar Bluff and Kennett will square off against Jackson and Dexter in the nightcap at 7 p.m.

Ive never really played with a bunch of the Kennett guys, Webb said of the pairings. But I know they can play. Bluff and Kennett are the best two teams in the conference in my opinion so we should have a pretty good team.

Ceremonies to honor the seniors will take place between each game.

We want to have a parent and senior recognition ceremony like every school typically holds on Senior Day, Edwards said. We may even try to put the ceremony on the jumbotron at Capaha.

Participation in the event is voluntary. A list of seniors eligible to compete from each team is listed below:

Kennett: Marshall Brown, Jackson Henfling, Carter Maddox, Seth Tice

Cape Central: Matthew Huey, Zachary Haggerty, Gunner Crosnoe, Zachary Moore, Caedan Knepp, Hunter Hiett, Noah McCoy

Dexter: Carson Bell, Garrett Henson, Haden Hillis, Trey Johnson, Mason Keena

Sikeston: Hayden Alcorn, Preston Alexander, Payton Howard, Clark Steward, Kadin Wilburn

NMCC: Bryshawn Williams, Caden Howell, Glen Helmes, Austin Davis, Christen Phillips, Ethan Colbert

Notre Dame: Kam Dohogne, Brayden Eftink, Tyler Halter, Zach Haywood, Gabe Hurley, Tyler Landewee, Andrew Thurston, Joey LeGrand

Jackson: Matthew Bumpus, Lane Crowden, Kalin Ellis, Layne Friedrich, Layton Hahn, Mason Martini, Alex Meyer, Seth Spraggs, Blaise Winder

Poplar Bluff: Noah Burkey, Dawson Hanner, Carson Webb, Daryl Vaughn, Luke Becker

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