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Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

Sikeston blasts Tigers

Sunday, May 9, 2004

(Photo)
Sikeston's Nathan Eaves looks to home after sliding into second base safely for a stolen base.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs displayed a nice combination of power, pitching and defense in a 14-0 five-inning win over Clearwater on Friday at VFW Memorial Stadium.

Clearwater coach Tim Green was impressed and, perhaps, a bit green with envy of the Bulldogs' performance.

"That's a solid bunch," he said. "They're loaded. If that's not a state-qualifying team, something's wrong. They're legit."

Clearwater (13-8), a Class 2 squad, threatened in the top of the first inning when the first two batters reached on base hits. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, a base on balls loaded the sacks. But a smoothly-turned 6-4-3 double play ended the inning and the last real Clearwater threat.

"The biggest thing that I tried to warn them about was that after you have a big crowd and a big game, like we did Tuesday night (SEMO Conference Tournament), a lot of times you come out flat," said Sikeston coach Kevin Self. "They kind of woke us up early when they hit the first pitch off the fence. (That) let us know that they were here to play."

It was all Sikeston the rest of the way.

In the first Sikeston at-bat, leadoff hitter Scott Keenan doubled into the right-centerfield gap, then trotted home on Blake DeWitt's home run to straightaway centerfield. DeWitt's 10th homer, estimated at 410 feet, cleared the wall easily at the 390-foot marker to send the Bulldogs ahead 2-0.

In the second inning, a leadoff walk to Richard Landers preceded J. R. Bizzell's poke into the left-field foul pole net, 320-feet down the line, for a 4-0 lead.

Two more fence-clearing blasts, a solo shot by Keenan down the right-field line and a another by DeWitt, his 11th and the Bulldogs' fourth of the day, to left-centerfield keyed a five-run second inning.

The Bulldogs crossed the plate seven times in the fourth, the big hit a bases-loaded double by starting pitcher Lance Rhodes. DeWitt pounded an RBI triple and reserves Garland Hemphill, on a bases-loaded walk, and Matt Limbaugh, on a bloop single, also drove home single runs.

Meanwhile, Rhodes was cruising with a three-hit shutout, backed by three Bulldog double plays. The final one, an around-the-horn 5-4-3 beauty, was turned in by reserve infielders Matt Wibbenmeyer to Hemphill to Zach Fayette.

"Our subs can play," said Self. "I'm confident they can make the plays. We've got 16 guys and we're as deep as we've ever been."

DeWitt (3-for-4, four RBIs), Rhodes (2-for-4, three RBIs), and Keenan (2-for-2, one RBI) led the 11-hit Sikeston offense.

Sikeston improved to 19-1 and appear to be peaking at just the right time.

Said Self, "We're starting to swing a little bit better, as a team, and we've got to if we're going to win our district. That's what it comes down to every year at district time; the team that swings it the best is the team that wins."

The Bulldogs have two regular-season games remaining, both at home against New Madrid on Wednesday and Jackson on Thursday, prior to the opening of district play on May 17 at Dexter.