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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Sikeston rolls in wood bat tourney

Monday, April 12, 2004

Blake DeWitt
PADUCAH, Ky. -- The Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team finished off the McCracken County Wood Bat Tournament on Saturday at Heath High School with two more wins to tie for the championship with a 4-0 mark.

The record tied North County, who was scheduled to meet Sikeston on Saturday but elected not to play the game due to the possibility of meeting the Bulldogs in the state playoffs.

Instead, Sikeston played Trigg County in the opener, defeating them 3-0 and then capping off the day with a 9-6 victory against Heath.

Against Heath (8-3), Sikeston built a 4-0 lead before the Pirates fought back to take the lead with a five-run fourth inning.

After tying the score in the top of the fifth, Sikeston reclaimed the lead for good with a four-run sixth.

Sikeston (9-0) got the lead in the top of the first when all-stater Blake DeWitt sent the first pitch he saw over the right field fence to take a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs extended the lead to 4-0 in the top of the third. The Pirates intentionally walked DeWitt to load the bases for another all-stater, Jacob Priday.

The move backfired as Priday hit a double off the left field fence to plate one run.

Nathan Eaves then smacked a two-run single to left field to extend the lead to four.

Bulldog pitcher Lance Rhodes was sharp for most of the game, striking out a season-high 11 batters in throwing all seven innings. He struck out six of the first seven batters he faced and had a no-hitter through three innings.

He struggled in the fourth inning when the Pirates led things off with an infield single. That seemed to start a chain reaction of miscues for the Bulldogs, who committed three errors in the inning.

Rhodes had trouble pitching around the mistakes as he walked in two runs. When it was all said and done, the Pirates had scored five runs on three hits with only one of them making it to the outfield, a blooper to center.

"That was a tough inning," said Self. "We had a pickoff play that we didn't catch. (Cullen DeHart) knew he had him out and he tried to put the tag on early and just didn't catch it. Then the we have the bunt, but Cullen slipped on the wet grass. Then we had the ground ball where Blake throws it to him and Cullen just caught it the wrong way. It was a tough inning for Cullen all the way around. When you're having a tough inning, the ball seems to find you. But then you see him make it up in the next inning with a great play that possibly saved the game."

DeHart's great play was an all-out dive to save a possible double down the right field line in the bottom of the fifth.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the fifth when DeWitt led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw by Heath catcher Brock Wright. Eaves then brought DeWitt home with a single to tie things up.

The Bulldogs put the game away when the wheels came off for Heath in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs on only one hit, a run-scoring triple by Scotty Keenan.

Heath pitchers walked five batters and hit another. Heath's Daniel Webb, an 8th grader, failed to record an out as he hit a batter and walked three straight afterwards.

When the damage was over, Sikeston led 9-5.

Heath scraped across one final run in the bottom of the sixth when Webb led off with a double and eventually scored on Jeff Shidell's single.

Rhodes walked three batters and hit two others. He allowed six hits and six runs, but only one was earned.

"He had good pop until we started making a couple errors," said Self. "They didn't hit the ball hard until we gave them some outs. But he was getting tired. He threw a lot of pitches. He showed some character about being able to finish the game."

Clint Tilford took the loss for Heath, throwing only three innings. Heath pitchers combined to walk 10 batters.

Sikeston was led in hitting by Eaves' three hits and three RBIs. After his home run, DeWitt was walked three times which led to his four runs. Keenan added two runs.

"I thought Nathan Eaves hit the fire out of the ball," said Self. "He hit three ropes with a wooden bat. We had several guys hit it hard today but they were right at them." Shidell collected two hits for Heath.

Against Trigg County, Bulldog hurler Bryce Wibbenmeyer threw all seven innings, allowing just four hits with no walks and one hit batter. He struck out three.

In that game, Sikeston got two hits out of Rhodes to lead the way. Others were DeWitt (1-2, SB, run), Eaves (1-3, SB, run), Matt Limbaugh (1-1, 2 SB, run), Brad Deere (1-3, SB) and DeHart (1-3, 2B).

In the tournament, Sikeston posted three shutouts.

"I thought our pitching was as good as I could expect," said Self. "I thought Ross (Merideth), Bryce, Blake, Lance -- all of them threw well. Scotty was throwing well until he hurt his arm. Hopefully he's okay. We've got to have his arm. There's no doubt about that."

Sikeston plays at Dexter today at 4 p.m.