SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulls ended a five-game losing streak on Monday night at VFW Stadium with a 5-0 victory over the visiting Union City Greyhounds in Kitty League play.
The Bulls lost five straight on the road and had fallen into last place in the league.
However, home cooking can cure all the road ills. Thanks to a fan appreciation night held for the YMCA T-Ball at the park, the Bulls broke a franchise attendance record with over 380 fans.
"Good to get back on the winning track," said Bulls head coach Matt Marshall. "We caught some hot ball clubs on the road who were swinging the bats well. Their is not much you can do about that. We got an excellent pitching performance tonight.
"It was (Ryan) Anderson's first start of the season, after coming off an illness with his tonsils. He has been working hard in getting his strength back and just did an excellent job on his first start."
Leading the way offensively for the Bulls was center fielder Adam Darby. With regular center fielder Jared Elmore gone for the year to complete a summer school class for college, Darby filled the void nicely.
Darby went 3-for-3 with two home runs, four RBIs and scored three runs. "Adam showed up to play today," said Marshall. "He knows that he is going to be out in center field with Jared leaving. It was nice to see someone step up big time when a player leaves. We didn't skip a beat tonight."
Sikeston came into the game against the Greyhounds with two home runs total for the season. Darby doubled that output in two swings on Monday night.
"I was seeing the ball well tonight," said Darby, "and I wanted to step up and make some sort of contribute to the team with Jared gone. I caught two fastballs at the right time and helped out the team. It is nice to get going because the balls haven't been falling for me lately."
The Bulls got on the board first in the bottom of the second with a two-out Darby home run blast to right field.
Union City had plenty of chances to stay in the game, but timely hitting eluded the Greyhounds.
In total, Union City left 10 runners stranded on base and the top of the fifth inning summed up the game for the Greyhounds.
Trevor McConnell led off the inning for the Greyhounds with a single and stole second base. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Union City's speedy lead off man Rafael Hill hit a softly hit ball to shortstop. The Bulls' Tyler Martin charged on the play and threw to first.
Hill beat the throw and was safe at first. During the catch and throw to first base by Martin, McConnell got on his horse and rounded third as the throw went into first base.
Sikeston's first baseman Tyson Mulvaney secured the throw and instead of arguing the play with the umpire, turned to find the whereabouts of McConnell.
In a head's up play, Mulvaney gunned down McConnell at home plate on a nice block of the plate by Bulls catcher Nico Gregali.
While the Greyhounds struggled to score runners, Sikeston found ways to produce runs.
In the bottom of the fifth, Gregali laid down a perfect suicide bunt to score Darby from third base.
Even though the Bulls were outhit 6-4 and committed four errors in the contest, Sikeston willed its way to a home win according to Marshall in the face of adversity on the road.
"The guys came into the game with a positive attitude and never did get down on themselves," said Marshall. "Even though we had a rough road trip, the guys battled hard and the guys understand that two or three games is not going to make a season. Their are still a lot of games left and everybody is real close in the standings. Except for two games, we played really well on the road trip. If the ball bounces differently one or two times, who knows what would of happened."
The Bulls put the game away in the bottom of the sixth on a 3-run homer by Darby to deep left field with two outs in the inning.
Besides the play of Darby, the Bulls pitching staff did a great job of holding down the Greyhounds offensive threats.
Anderson went six strong innings and gave up only three hits, walked three and struck out five.
David Reynolds relieved Anderson and went two innings allowing three hits, walked one and struck out three. Sikeston closer Dan Robbins pitched a perfect ninth to secure the win for the Bulls.
The Bulls will be off for three straight days and will resume play on Friday night at Owensboro, Ky.
Sikeston returns home on July 8 at 7:05 p.m. against the Fulton, Ky. Railroaders. That night will be Family Night and for every adult ticket a fan purchases, one will receive a child ticket for free.
Sikeston 5, Union City 0
WP - Ryan Anderson (2-1)
LP - Garrett Hatchel
HR - Sikeston: Adam Darby (2)
SB - Union City: Brooks Thornton (2), Trevor McConnell, Daniel Furuto.
Multiple hitters - Sikeston: Darby 3-4. Union City: Rafael Hill 2-5, Tyler Owen 2-4.
Records - Sikeston 8-12, Union City 13-10.