(David Jenkins, Staff)
The Notre Dame Bulldogs and the Sikeston Bulldogs split two games on Tuesday at VFW Stadium, but it was Sikeston that won the game that counted.
In a makeup of a suspended game earlier in the year, Sikeston defeated Notre Dame 8-7 in nine innings, snapping the Bulldogs' seven-game winning streak.
Notre Dame (10-5, 5-3 SEMO Conference) got some redemption in the second game, winning 3-2.
Sikeston (11-2) remains undefeated in the conference at 7-0 and can clinch the regular season championship with a win over Chaffee on May 7.
The makeup game picked up in the eighth inning tied at 6-6. Sikeston, playing as the visitors, scored when Travis Deere drove in Chris Cota to take a 7-6 lead.
Notre Dame tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Matt Pobst's squeeze bunt scored Wayne Essner to tie the game at 7-7.
Sikeston took the lead for good in the top of the ninth when Kent Chappell parked a two-out double over the right fielder, who misplayed the ball, scoring Drew Lawrence from second.
Scott Eftink took the loss for Notre Dame. Sikeston's Jamie Puckett picked up the win.
"It played out just like we ended at our place," said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Graviett. "It was a wild game - we just didn't have quite enough firepower. A couple of breaks didn't go our way. The kid in right field didn't see the ball and could have possibly caught it. They had a couple of big hits and got the win."
In the second game, Notre Dame's Scott Wittenborn got the win and silenced the Bulldogs' bats to their lowest hit total of the year. He allowed three singles and two unearned runs with just one walk in seven innings.
"It was just a great job by (Wittenborn)," said Graviett. "That's the second game like that he's thrown this year. (Sikeston) is a tremendous hitting ballclub and they've shown it all year by putting up runs left and right. We needed somebody to step up on the mound and he did it today for us."
Sikeston hurler Bobby Landers was fairly sharp except for one mistake in the fifth. With two outs, No. 9 hitter Kyle Diveley smacked a three-run homer over the right field fence to give Notre Dame a 3-1 lead.
"We needed somebody to get a big hit for us," said Graviett. "Kyle stepped up and drove the pitch the other way out of the ballpark. One big hit gave us all the runs we needed."
Landers took the loss, going seven innings and allowing three runs off four hits with six strikeouts.
Sikeston was fortunate to even get two runs. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Cota's two-out single scored Heath Self, who reached on a throwing error.
Sikeston cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Chappell hit a hard ground ball that shortstop Lee Essner missed, scoring Blake DeWitt from second base.
"This is the first day that I've seen us not look well at the plate," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self. "Up and down the lineup we just didn't hit it today. We popped it up a lot and we didn't hit many balls hard. The ones we did we hit hard were right at people and they made the plays."
Notre Dame was playing without three of its best players, who were in an automobile accident. Todd Friend, John O'Rourke and Shane Kistner were all injured in the accident and will be out of action indefinitely.
After starting 10-0, Sikeston has now lost two of their last three games. Sikeston will host Oran today at 4 p.m.
Adam Garrett, Chappell and Cota were the only Bulldogs to record a hit.
"Bobby threw pretty good but he made one bad pitch," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self. "One bad pitch in a tight ballgame will get you beat. It's a tough loss, but we should bounce back. It wasn't a conference game, we won that one and it's the one that counts. A loss here and there shouldn't do anything but make us better hopefully. We've got a lot of games to play this week so we've got to put this one behind us and go on."
Although brackets have not been released for the SEMO Conference Tournament, Sikeston will get the top seed and will play the winner of the No. 8 and 9 seeded game at 8:30 Friday night at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau.
Sikeston's JV team improved to 8-1 on the season with a 13-3, five-inning win over Notre Dame.
Scotty Keenan got the win, going 3 1/3 innings and allowing three runs off six walks and two hits with three strikeouts.
Brad Deere threw 1 2/3 innings and allowed a hit with three walks and a strikeout.
Sikeston got a grand slam home run from Nathan Eaves. He went 2-4 with two runs and a stolen base.
Others were Deere (2-4, 2 runs, RBI), Lance Rhodes (2-3, 3 runs, 3 RBI, SB), Jacob Priday (run, sacrifice-RBI), Tyler Nelson (run, RBI), Adam Miller (1-1, run), Brandon Eldridge (1-1, run), Zach Fayette (run) and Dustin Kelley (1-1, 2B, run).