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Former Sikeston staf Puckett drafted by Frontier League team

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

SIKESTON - Former Sikeston Bulldog baseball standout Billy Puckett was drafted by the Gateway Grizzlies baseball team Sunday.

The Grizzlies, who are members of the Frontier League, selected him with their first pick.

Puckett, a right-handed pitcher who graduated from Blackburn College last May, finished his collegiate career with a 6-5 record with a 3.41 earned run average.

In 89 innings last season for the Beavers he struck out 60 and walked only 34 batters.

"Billy threw the ball extremely well Sunday and he stood out over the other pitchers we had at our open tryout," said Gateway head coach and former Major League pitcher Danny Cox.

"We had heard that several other teams were looking at him and that is why we took him with our first pick."

Puckett graduated from Sikeston High School in 2000 and led the Bulldogs to a 20-4 record which was a school record for wins at the time.

Puckett will join other players later this week at the team's spring training and begin his professional career when the Grizzlies open their season on Friday, May 20.

Puckett is the second Blackburn player to be drafted and play professionally. Tony Etnier pitched for Cook County in 2002.