(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
DEXTER - The top-seeded Sikeston Bulldogs (23-1) advanced to the championship game today with a 15-0, five-inning win against No. 4 Kennett on Thursday at Dexter's East City Park.
Sikeston will play No. 2 Notre Dame today at 4:30 for the championship.
Notre Dame defeated third-seeded Dexter 13-2 in five innings on Thursday.
The Bulldogs scored five runs in the bottom of the third and sent 16 batters to the plate in a 10-run fourth inning to blow the game wide open.
Sikeston slugged four home runs in the game.
Junior Blake DeWitt obliterated Sikeston's single season home run mark of 12 set by Blake Ledbetter in 1995.
DeWitt hit a grand slam and a solo home run in the fourth inning to push his total to 14 on the season.
He finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs, which runs his record-setting total to 56 on the year.
He has four home runs in his last four games.
"Yeah, they got on a roll there," said Kennett head coach Bart McAtee. "We did alright for the first two innings and we started making a few mistakes and it all blew up in our face. You pay for every one of them when you play Sikeston."
On top of that, DeWitt threw a one-hit shutout. He struck out five and walked two in five innings pitched.
Jacob Priday added a two-run homer in the third, his eighth of the year. Lance Rhodes had a solo shot in the fourth.
It all started in the bottom of the third when Priday launched a two-run homer over the left centerfield fence.
Three batters later, Cullen DeHart laced a two-run double down the right field line to make it 4-0. DeHart eventually scored on a wild pitch.
"We had a base open there when Priday was batting at a 0-0 game," said McAtee. "I thought about walking him, but they've got all those hitters. They're solid all the way down the lineup so you basically pick your poison. If you walk him there somebody else will come up and bite you."
The following inning, Rhodes and DeWitt hit back-to-back solo home runs.
That opened the floodgates for the rest of the inning. In all, the first eight batters of the fourth inning reached base safely.
"Once you get to this point somebody's got to get a big hit," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self. "Jacob had a chance in the first inning and didn't, and then he got the big one in the third. He hit one out and then Cullen got a big hit. I thought those were the two biggest hits."
After Rhodes' and DeWitt's homers, Priday walked and back-to-back errors loaded the bases for DeHart.
This time he lined a single into the right field gap to score two more runs. The right fielder misplayed the ball, allowing another run to score to make it 11-0.
Five batters later, DeWitt added his second home run of the inning and his first career grand slam over the right field fence.
"Once it got to rolling pretty much everyone started in on it," said Self. "Momentum is a funny thing, once you get it rolling your way, it seems like everything will go your way."
Rhodes was 3-for-3 with three runs. DeHart went 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
"You can't expect to score 15 runs every time you come out," said Self. "But if we're having good at-bats and guys are getting good cuts, then you are happy with that. I thought we had some good at-bats today and that's what it takes."
Kennett's (13-12) Jeremy Lyons took the loss. He threw three innings and allowed six runs off seven hits with three walks and one strikeout.
Brandon Higgins had the Indians' only hit.
It's the third year in a row that Sikeston has eliminated Kennett in district play.
Sikeston broke the school record for wins in a season with its 23rd, breaking the mark set in 2001.
The Bulldogs will be shooting for their third straight district championship. Notre Dame, which is in Class 3 for the first time, took third in the state in 2A last year.