(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON - The wind was blowing out to left field on Tuesday and the No. 4 ranked Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team took full advantage.
The Bulldogs blasted three home runs en route to an 11-0, five-inning win against SEMO Conference foe Scott City at VFW Stadium.
The Bulldogs (3-0, 2-0 SEMO Conference) got a lift from sophomore lefty Cullen DeHart, who in his first varsity start, shut down the Rams' offense.
He threw all five innings, allowing just three hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Two of the three hits were infield singles and the other was a short bloop single into right field.
If that wasn't enough, DeHart also cranked his first varsity home run while going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
"He's hit the ball well all year and he hit it well again today," said Self of DeHart.
Junior Lance Rhodes also had a monster day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBIs.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. They extended the lead to 10-0 after three innings.
Junior Jacob Priday led off with a triple and scored on Rhodes' second homer of the day.
After a Nathan Eaves single, DeHart parked his home run over the right field fence.
Two batters later, Zach Fayette added a double and scored off a Drew Lawrence single. In his second at-bat of the inning, Priday hit a double to score Blake DeWitt.
"I think a couple of those balls that they hit pretty hard got out and it took the wind out of our sails," said Scott City head coach Mike Umfleet. "That's what happens on a windy day and against a good ballclub. You get the ball up and Sikeston will take advantage of it. (Mark) Johnston wasn't throwing the ball bad. He just got a few pitches up."
Johnston took the loss for the Rams, throwing 2 2/3 innings. He allowed 10 runs (eight earned) off nine hits with two walks.
The Ram pitcher baffled the Sikeston hitters early, but couldn't keep the Bulldog bats quiet for long.
"We didn't come out swinging too good in the first inning," said Self. "But we adjusted to the velocity and the kind of pitches they were throwing. He was throwing a lot of breaking pitches and we just had to adjust."
Of Sikeston's 12 hits, nine came from the No. 5 through No. 9 hitters, which gives Self some hope at the bottom of the order.
"In this kind of game, when we face a guy that throws like this style of pitching, the lower part of the lineup is what usually does the damage," said Self. "They got on and guys drove them in from No. 5 on. It's good to see a lot of people contributing. Because that's the way it's got to be for us to be good at the end and go where we want to go."
In addition to Rhodes and DeHart, Priday went 2-3 and Fayette went 2-3 with two RBIs.
Scott City falls to 0-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEMO Conference. The Rams will play at Poplar Bluff in a SEMO Conference matchup on Friday at 4 p.m.
Sikeston will play at Cape Central today at 4 p.m. in a big SEMO Conference matchup.