SIKESTON -- The newest addition to the Sikeston baseball scene, the Bootheel Bombers, made their debut appearance in a competitive effort against the Farmington Firebirds at V.F.W. Stadium on Thursday.
The Firebirds held on to win a 5-3 decision in the well-played contest, the first-ever for the newly-formed Kitty League, an independent college baseball league.
"I was pretty happy with our overall performance," said Bombers manager Matt Marshall, an assistant coach at Lambuth University. "We were only on the field for one practice yesterday so I'm learning these guys as we go, just like they're learning me."
Farmington, stocked primarily with local products, drew first blood with a run in the second on starting pitcher Steve McCoy's RBI single.
The Firebirds added a couple in the fifth on Travis Thurston's two-run homer over the right-centerfield wall for a 3-0 advantage.
With McCoy of UMSL cruising with a three-hit shutout, the Bombers broke through for an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth on shortstop Jose Lopez's sharp RBI single to close the gap to 3-1.
Farmington tacked on two huge insurance runs in the eighth on RBI doubles by John Mitchell and Luke Garber for a 5-1 lead.
Those tallies loomed large as the Bombers bounced back with two runs in their half of the eighth to climb within two.
Jeff Scott, in relief of McCoy in the sixth, retired the first eight batters he faced, but with two outs, Bomber Ingel Silva singled and advanced to second on a walk to Sean Coker. Scott DeLoach then singled to plate Silva but was caught in a rundown between first and second.
With the attention on DeLoach, Coker broke for home and slid in safely ahead of the tag for the Bombers' third run. DeLoach then retreated safely to first base.
A foul popout ended the threat as the Bombers went down in order in the ninth.
The Bombers received a gutsy pitching performance from left-hander Brent Telano. He kept the Firebirds within reach, despite giving up 11 hits in eight innings of work. He was charged with five runs, four earned, with seven strikeouts and three walks.
"He (Telano) did an excellent job," said Marshall. "I was very impressed."
Dan Robbins hurled a scoreless ninth for the Bombers.
The Bomber defense was near-flawless with only one error, while turning three double plays.
Tolliver McMullin, Ryan Cobb, Lopez, Silva, Coker and DeLoach shared the Bombers' six hits.
Thurston led all hitters with a 3-for-4 night.
On the league opener, general manager Bill Powers, said, "Obviously, there's always those things that go wrong and we had our fair share, like our uniforms were lost by a shipping company, but we got through it. I just wish more people could have been here, but I know Springfest and a lot of Little League games are going on.
"Now, that our first game is behind us and we see what we can do, we can start planning ahead, coming up with some fun things for kids and adults and just make it more of an event besides just baseball."
The Bombers and Firebirds play again today at noon.