NEW MADRID - The Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team made it a clean sweep in the SEMO Conference with a 12-0, six inning win against New Madrid County Central on Wednesday in New Madrid.
The Bulldogs, who had already clinched the regular season championship, ran the table in the conference for the first time in several years with a 9-0 record.
The win also marked the Bulldogs 20th of the season, making it the fourth year in a row the team has accomplished the feat.
Sikeston has defeated NMCC 10 straight times dating back to 1997.
"I just wish we could've given Sikeston a little bit more of a challenge," said NMCC head coach John Jones, whose team falls to 6-9-1. "I thought we hit the ball well, we just hit it right at people. And Sikeston hit it where we weren't. That's the reason they're No. 1 in the state."
The Bulldogs scored in every inning, including four in the top of the sixth to enforce the mercy rule.
Blake DeWitt belted his 11th home run of the season in the top of the first inning, putting him one shy of the school record set by Blake Ledbetter in 1995.
Scotty Keenan also had a two-run homer in the top of the fifth. He led the team with three hits, four RBIs and three runs scored.
DeWitt had three RBIs and two runs.
The Bulldogs had 12 hits in the game, the most the team has had in two weeks.
"We need to start putting things in place to where we are dominating people," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self. "If we're going to do what we're supposed to do, we've got to get back to form and start putting teams away."
On the mound, Bulldog hurler Lance Rhodes was in command. He threw all six innings and allowed just one hit. He struck out five and walked two.
"He's one of the better pitchers you're going to see throughout the course of a season," said Jones. "He had his stuff today. He was inside, outside and he put it where it had to be. He just kept us off stride."
Ben Stricklin had the Eagles' only hit.
The senior was also the pitcher. He threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing 12 runs off 11 hits. He walked six and struck out five.
"(Stricklin) was looking forward to this ballgame," said Jones. "Sikeston's his old team, he left when he was in 10th grade and he's been playing here for three years now. He was fired up and excited about this ballgame and I think he was too much so. He was thinking too hard. But he relaxed a little bit. He took them six innings and there's a lot of pitchers in this conference and district that haven't been able to go against Sikeston for six innings."
Jacob Priday had two hits for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Cullen DeHart had two RBIs.
"Ben throws the ball pretty good," said Self. "He only gave up two against Cape so he throws pretty well. But we hit well today. I think we had at least one hit at every position in the lineup. Scotty hit it on the screws three times."
NMCC's best chance of scoring came in the fourth inning when they had the bases loaded with two outs. But Rhodes got out of the jam with a strikeout.
Other than that, the Eagles reached second base just one other time.
"Lance shut them down and threw the ball well," said Self. "I was going to let some other guys throw a little bit but he was throwing so well and he had a shutout going, I didn't want to jeopardize that."
Sikeston (20-1) plays at Jackson today at 4 p.m.
The Sikeston JV team suffered its first loss with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of NMCC's JV.
Ryan Lawrence hit a walk-off home run off reliever Ross Merideth to end the game in the sixth inning. The game was scheduled to go just five innings.
Matt Limbaugh started for Sikeston and got the no-decision. He threw five innings and allowed two unearned runs off seven hits. He walked three and struck out three.
Eric Chappell, Cody Black and Tyler Baker each had one hit for Sikeston. Merideth had an RBI.
Sikeston (8-1) will host NMCC in the SEMO Conference JV Tournament on Friday at 4 p.m.