SCOTT CITY - The Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team improved to 13-2 on the season with an 11-3 SEMO Conference victory against Scott City on Monday.
The Bulldogs have now won eight straight games and are now 4-2 in league play.
The Bulldogs raced out to a 9-0 lead after the first three innings and appeared on the verge of blowing out the Class 2A Rams. But the Bulldog offense stalled over the final four innings.
"I think we might have been on cruise control a little bit," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self. "We had a few opportunities where we could've 10-runned them, but they made some nice plays and we had a couple of breaks that didn't go our way. But that's just part of it."
The Bulldogs still had a solid performance against the Rams, particularly in the first three innings where they had eight of their 11 hits.
"The biggest part of this game was scoring early, and we scored in the first three innings," said Self. "That pretty much takes the air out of people, especially in the third when we had two outs with nobody on and we scored three runs."
Sophomore Blake DeWitt led the offensive charge, going 3-5 with five RBIs and three runs scored. He had a single, double and a triple and just missed a home run by a few feet when rightfielder Andrew Estes caught the ball against the fence.
Jacob Priday also had a double and a triple with a pair of RBIs.
Jamie Puckett had a pair of sacrifice flies and a run-scoring single.
"We got down early and I knew it was going to be tough to battle back against a team like this," said Scott City head coach Mike Umfleet. "Sikeston came out and hit the ball well. They've got some great hitters and some great ballplayers."
Meanwhile, Bulldog pitcher Lance Rhodes was busy shutting down Scott City's offense.
Rhodes picked up the win, throwing five innings and allowing just one unearned run off two hits with five strikeouts and five walks.
Senior hurler Chris Cota saw his first action on the mound after breaking his finger a month ago. After a shaky start in which he walked in two runs in the 6th inning, he retired six of the final seven batters.
"He needed to get in and see some batters," said Self. "He told me that his finger felt better. He wanted a shot so I stuck him out there. I thought his velocity was good and his breaking ball will get there. I thought he threw the ball good today."
Jordan Comer took the loss for Scott City, throwing 2 2/3 innings and allowing nine runs (seven earned) off eight hits with two walks.
Trenton Estes had better success in relief, throwing 4 1/3 innings and allowing two runs off three hits and four walks.
"I think our new pitcher had a little to do with (Sikeston not scoring), he kept them off balance," said Umfleet. "But I think Sikeston was coasting some late. They weren't as aggressive at the plate as they were earlier. I was pleased that we didn't give up and that we battled back."
The Rams (5-6, 0-4 SEMO Conference) will host Dexter today at 4 p.m.
"Scott City is young and they're going to be pretty good in the next couple of years," said Self.
Sikeston will play at Kelly today at 4 p.m. for another SEMO Conference matchup.
The Sikeston junior varsity team won its fourth straight game with an 8-0 victory that was cut short in the fourth inning due to darkness.
Sikeston (4-3) had a good pitching performance from Brad Deere, who went all four innings, allowing two hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Richard Landers went 2-2 with a double and three runs. Matt Limbaugh went 2-3 with two runs and a triple. Ross Merideth, Cullen DeHart and Deere each had two RBIs.
Others that had hits were Zach Fayette (RBI), Bryce Wibbenmeyer, Eric Chappell and Eric Burton. Kyle Rodgers had a run and an RBI.