JACKSON -- Sikeston suffered a tough 3-2 loss to SEMO Conference and district rival Jackson on Monday at the Jackson City Park.
In the fast-paced, crisply-played game, the Lady Bulldogs broke a 1-1 tie with a sixth-inning run, then saw Jackson come back with two in the bottom of the frame for the win.
Jackson's victory, however, was a sobering one.
"A young man, a student-athlete at our school, was killed in an automobile accident last night," said Jackson coach Julie Rushing, "so we had a lot to overcome. The girls stayed focused and I was very proud of the way they played after having to deal with that all day today.
"Your heart goes out to the family and you kind of put everything in perspective when you're just coming out here for a game, but the girls did real well. They stayed together and played as a team."
The Lady Indians opened the scoring with a run in the third on Hana Bolen's sharp single which plated Tara Kelley, who had walked.
Sikeston (10-3) knotted the score at one in the fourth inning.
Molly Brinkmeyer drove a triple to the wall in left field with one out, then trotted home on Ali Blurton's RBI single. Blurton battled through an impressive 12-pitch at-bat, fouling off pitch after pitch to stay alive, before her solid basehit, on a 3-2 count, found the hole between third and short.
Sikeston's Barb Hobbs drew a one-out walk in the sixth, stole second and scored on Brinkmeyer's second hit to lift the Lady Bulldogs to a 2-1 advantage.
Brinkmeyer and Blurton split four of Sikeston's five-hit total and each had a RBI. Beth Ziegenhorn had the Lady Bulldogs' other hit.
"We had a couple of girls that played with intensity, but some of the girls lagged back," said Sikeston coach Tiffany Glastetter. "I told them that this is the time to step up."
In the bottom of the sixth, Jackson's Amanda Pitts led off with a ground single up the middle and came home on Chelsea McDowell's slicing triple just inside the right-field foul line. Jessica Pitts groundout scored McDowell with the game-winner.
Starting pitchers for both teams turned in solid performances. Sikeston's Brinkmeyer and Jackson's Hannah Fowler each allowed five hits.
Brinkmeyer struck out six and walked two in the hard-luck loss.
"I'm very pleased with Molly's (Brinkmeyer) effort," said Glastetter. "She's coming out and playing hard for me every game. I can't ask more of her."
As for conference implications, both coaches pointed out the parity in the league.
Said Rushing, "Everybody is pretty evenly matched this year and it just depends on which team comes out to play and plays seven strong innings."
Glastetter said, "There are still a lot of conference games left. I know they've (Jackson) lost to some conference teams that we've beaten, so it's pretty even. It should go down to the wire, because there's a bunch of teams that are beating each other."