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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Sikeston ready for wood bat tourney

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Sikeston's Jacob Priday celebrates after hitting a home run.
PADUCAH, Ky. -- The Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team will compete in the McCracken County Wooden Bat Tournament starting tomorrow at Reidland High School.

Sikeston will be pitted against Millington (Tenn.) and Reidland on Friday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. respectively, both to be played at Reidland High School.

On Saturday at Heath High School, the Bulldogs are scheduled to play North County at 10 a.m. and Heath at 2 p.m.

The Bulldogs went 3-1 in last year's tournament with their only loss of the regular season coming to host school Lone Oak, 4-3.

In last year's tournament, Sikeston defeated Millington 6-4 and shutout Heath 4-0.

"There will be good competition from several different states," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self.

"We've got them from four states and they are some of the best schools. Nobody comes from that much distance unless you've got a pretty good club. It will be good for our kids to play somebody that we don't normally play. I think that's the most fun, to play kids you don't know. When you play the same teams over and over and you know them so well, it's fun and different to play new teams."

The Bulldogs averaged over 10 runs per game last year, but only scored 19 total runs in their four games with the wooden bats.

Even with the low run production, Self is basically looking for solid contact with the bats.

But since the ball won't fly as far, Self is counting on solid fundamentals to try to get the runs across.

"The first thing is, you're swinging wooden bats, and we haven't scored a lot of double digit runs this year," said Self.

"Last year the most runs we scored in a game was six, and that was when we were scoring 15 runs per game heading into the tournament. That's why I'm kind of worried about us going over there this year, because we're not swinging the bats quite as well as we did last year. We're going to have to manufacture runs, bunt guys over and get them in with flyballs or squeezes."

Despite the fact that team and individual offensive statistics will take a nosedive during the tournament, Self thinks it will all work out in the end once the team gets back to using aluminum bats.

"I think the benefit for us is once we come back to aluminum bats after we swung that wooden bat a little bit, boy the ball really jumps," said Self. "We hit the ball pretty hard over there last year with wooden bats. We've got a lot of kids that swing wooden bats in practice."