But Wednesday afternoon the Hawks at least made it interesting for a while before falling 8-2 to the No. 2 ranked Bulldogs.
Kelly, playing in its season-opener, had the score tied at 1-1 heading into the top of the fourth inning, but a Scotty Keenan 3-run homer broke things open for Sikeston.
Sikeston, which is currently searching for a No. 3 hurler with Cullen DeHart's arm injury from last year, got a boost from junior Bryce Wibbenmeyer.
The right-hander threw five innings and allowed one unearned run and three hits. He struck out five and walked two.
His performance along with an overall solid effort by the defense pleased head coach Kevin Self.
"That was a bright spot for me was the fact that Bryce threw strikes and we made plays defensively," said Self. "Lance (Rhodes) had a couple tough hops, but mostly we made the plays. Bryce probably could've went the distance, but I wanted to see Scotty throw."
Keenan threw the final two innings and allowed two hits and one unearned run.
Kelly is under a new head coach this season, Cory Johnson. Johnson, Kelly's athletic director, took over for John Gandt who will be stationed overseas for 18 months with the military.
"I was pleased with our efforts," said Johnson. "It's the first game of the year and you know you've got things to work on. It takes a game or two to see what the kids got. This being our first game against probably the best team in the state of Missouri, well, it's a test for us. But I was very pleased with what I saw. We're going to be very competitive."
Sikeston (2-0, 2-0 SEMO Conference) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jacob Priday doubled in Blake DeWitt.
Kelly tied the game in the bottom of the third when Chris Romas scored from third on a swinging strike out that got away from the catcher.
The game remained 1-1 until the top of the fourth when Keenan unloaded a home run over the right field fence to take a 4-1 lead.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 6-1 on DeHart's two-run double. Sikeston tacked on two more runs on Priday's two-run single to make it 8-1.
"We missed some spots with our pitches. A team like that with the two, three and four hitters they've got, they're going to take advantage of any missed situations," said Johnson.
"Defensively I thought we did a decent job. They hit a couple sharp at us and we knocked them down and made plays. We knew they would hit the ball and we were on our toes defensively."
Kelly scored its final run on a Danny Wilson RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth.
With it being their first game and the fact they gave a respectable showing against one of the top teams in the state, Self thinks the Hawks could make some noise this season.
"Kelly played really well," said Self. "I'm impressed with how Coach Johnson and Coach (Denver) Stuckey have got them going. I mean, first year here and they're doing things right and making plays. I think you can look for good things out of them this year."
Sikeston was led in hitting by Priday and DeWitt with three hits apiece.
DeWitt had three runs scored and Priday added three RBIs. Rhodes and DeHart each collected two hits.
Sikeston had 13 hits in the game while Kelly managed just three.
Kelly's Trey Simmons took the loss, throwing 3 2/3 innings and allowing four runs off five hits. He walked four and struck out three. Kendal Deason allowed four runs off eight hits in 2 1/3 innings.
"It was interesting for a while," said Self. "It was 1-1 when Scotty hit that bomb. We hit a lot of balls hard. We didn't hit a lot of popups. The balls we hit, we hit on a line and we hit some right at them. The more games we get under out belts, obviously the bats will come alive. We've just got to get some at bats. Right now we have to survive with our pitching."
Sikeston will host Class 4 power DeSmet on Saturday at noon. Kelly will play at Chaffee on Friday at 4 p.m.