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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

SEMO All-Conference team released

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Sikeston has six selected to first team; DeWitt named Player of the Year for second straight season

SIKESTON - The SEMO All-Conference baseball team was released recently.

The Sikeston Bulldogs, undefeated winners of the league at 8-0, had the most players selected to the first team with six.

"It's a great honor for all those that made it," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self. "Everyone that made it was deserving. It shows what kind of season we had."

For the second straight year, Sikeston's Blake DeWitt was named the Player of the Year in the conference.

The junior put together an incredible season, batting .513 with a school record 14 home runs and a school record 56 RBIs. On top of that, he was 9-0 on the mound with a 1.01 earned run average. He struck out 62 batters while walking just 10 in 48 1/3 innings pitched.

"He had a great year, there's no doubt about it," said Self. "It's one of the best seasons ever in school history. But he's worked at it. He's gotten this good through sheer hard work. It's no accident that he's putting up those kinds of numbers."

Joining DeWitt on the all-conference team was catcher Jacob Priday, who put together a monster offensive season himself.

The junior batted a team leading .529 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs.

"Jacob's had a really good year, but his numbers would've been even better without Blake getting all the RBIs right ahead of him," said Self. "Still, 31 RBIs is an awful lot. Jake and Blake were the backbone of our offense."

Drew Lawrence, the Bulldogs lone senior regular, also was selected to the first team as an infielder.

He batted .350 with 37 runs scored in the leadoff spot. He also had two home runs, eight doubles and 17 RBIs.

"Drew had to make some adjustments this year," said Self. "He's always played outfield for us but we needed him at third base this season and he did a real nice job. Plus we needed a leadoff hitter and he's always batted fifth in the lineup. But he did exactly what we wanted. He got on base and set the table for our big guys."

Scotty Keenan and Nathan Eaves were both selected to the first team outfield.

Eaves batted .430 on the season with four home runs and 19 RBIs while Keenan hit .380 with two home runs and 18 RBIs.

Rounding out the first team is hurler Lance Rhodes. The junior went 5-2 on the season with a 3.15 ERA. He struck out 56 batters and walked 20 in 48 innings pitched.

Rhodes was also solid at the plate, batting .390 with six home runs and 30 RBIs.

Sikeston also had two players receive honorable mention all-conference.

Sophomore Cullen DeHart was selected as a pitcher after going 7-0 during the season.

He led the team in ERA at a microscopic 0.83 in 33 2/3 innings pitched. He also showed good control as he struck out 33 and walked just eight batters all year.

DeHart also was strong at the plate as he hit .405 with 18 RBIs and one home run.

Richard Landers was selected to honorable mention as an infielder despite splitting time at second base and left field.

Nevertheless, the sophomore was a key part of the offense towards the bottom of the order as he hit .388 with 20 RBIs and one home run.

The Bulldogs went 23-2 this season and were ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 3 for the majority of the season.

Sikeston set a school record for wins and were heavy favorites to make a third straight trip to Columbia.

However, the year ended in disappointment as the Bulldogs were upset in the district championship game by Notre Dame 7-3.