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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Bulldogs take out DeSmet

Monday, March 29, 2004

Sikeston's Jacob Priday (9) is congratulated by his teammates J.R. Bizzell, left, and Richard Landers.
SIKESTON -- Jacob Priday has batted behind Blake DeWitt for three years, reaping the benefits of coaches and pitchers who pitch around the standout.

That was never as evident as it was Saturday afternoon at VFW Stadium in a battle of state-ranked teams.

With Sikeston, ranked number two in Class 3, and DeSmet, ranked number three in Class 4, tied at five in the bottom of the seventh the Spartans were faced with a decision.

With Lance Rhodes standing on second following a double, DeSmet elected to intentionally walk DeWitt who was 0-for-3 on the day against University of Arkansas recruit T.J. Sinovich and face Priday who was already 3-for-3, including a three-run home run in his previous at bat off the DeSmet ace.

"I wondered if they would go ahead and throw to Blake because (Sinovich) had him all day," said Sikeston coach Kevin Self. "He's still respected him enough to put him on. That is respect and that is what Blake commands because there is no doubt, even though he's not getting pitches to hit right now, he's still the guy in the lineup you don't want to get beat by."

It didn't take DeSmet faithful long to start questioning the move as Priday took the first pitch into right-center, plating Rhodes and winning the game for the Bulldogs.

On a day with the wind blowing out at VFW Stadium it was Sinovich and DeWitt who took center stage in the early stages of the game.

Sinovich, a 6-4 lefthander that throws in the mid-80s, kept the Sikeston hitters off balance most of the day. He finished with eight strikeouts and only three walks in his six and one-third innings of work, giving up all six Bulldog runs.

"T.J. throws the ball as well as probably anybody we'll face all year," Self said. "He has good movement, he's got good pop and he's going to get more pop as the season goes on. He throws the ball well."

However, DeWitt matched the highly touted DeSmet pitcher, striking out 10 without a walk and only allowing one run off three hits going into the seventh inning.

But down 5-1, the Spartans greeted a tiring DeWitt with two straight singles to start the inning. Self then decided to bring in Rhodes to try and finish out the game.

I thought Blake threw the ball extremely well," Self said. "The reason I left him in that last inning was he had only thrown about 79 pitches and the pitch count was good enough. That warranted one more chance in the seventh to close it out. Unfortunately he couldn't quite do that."

DeSmet's Dominic Madrid welcomed Rhodes with a single into left that plated both Sinovich and McCormac. After a strikeout and an error, DeSmet leadoff hitter Evan Button doubled into left-center, scoring two and tying the game.

"Lance wasn't as loose as I thought he should have been coming in and it took him a little bit to get started," Self said.

Rhodes then got Chris Seimer to fly out before walking the bases loaded, facing Sinovich. The DeSmet pitcher hit the ball hard to third but Richard Landers was there and tagged third ending the Spartan rally and setting up Priday's heroics in the bottom of the seventh.

"(DeSmet) has a quality club," Self said. "They are solid, up and down their lineup and they have no holes, absolutely none. That is a good quality win for us."

Priday seemed to have put the game away in the bottom of the fifth inning for the Bulldogs. With a 2-1 lead, Priday came to the plate with Scott Keenan on third and Blake DeWitt on first when he sent a Sinovich delivery screaming over the fence in left-center, giving Sikeston a 5-1 lead.

Priday was also responsible for scoring the first two runs of the day for the Bulldogs. After singling in the second, he scored on a double by Nathan Eaves giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

Tied at one in the fourth, Priday again singled and following an Eaves single, and scored when Landers lined a single up the middle.

"Jacob just swung the heck out of it," Self said. "He swung good, (Rhodes) swung good, Nathan Eaves swung good and then (Sinovich) tried to pitch around Blake as much as he could."

Priday finished the day with four hits while Rhodes, Eaves and Landers all chipped in two hits apiece.

Sikeston (3-0) will play again on Tuesday when they travel to Scott City to take on the Rams at 4 p.m.