(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs played the Kennett Lady Indians toe-
to-toe on Senior Day Monday afternoon, until one swing of the bat ignited Kennett and dashed the Lady Bulldogs' hopes, leading to a 9-0 loss.
With a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth, Kennett had runners on second and third when cleanup hitter Allyson Luce worked the count to full against Sikeston pitcher Sarah Hopson. Luce fouled then fouled off two good pitches before putting the third over the left field fence.
"We had some opportunities to get good hits when we got base runners on and Allyson stepped up and did her job," said Kennett coach Laurie Vaughan. "We can't ask for more than that."
"I knew that she was their best hitter and I tried get (Hopson) to not give her a good pitch," King said. "But you can't control everywhere the ball is going to go. After they hit that home run, we just kind of fell apart."
While Sikeston fell apart, Kennett seemed to pick up steam, shutting the Lady Bulldogs away while sealing the game with four additional runs in the top of the seventh.
"(The home run) definitely picked us up momentum-wise," Vaughan said. "Everybody gets fired up when somebody hits the ball out and they just performed after that. You could see they had a little bit more enthusiasm and a little bit more excitement and (pitcher Laurel Scales) went up there and threw a little harder."
Scales worked out of a bases- loaded jam in the first inning and then only allowed one Sikeston runner to reach third base the rest of the game.
"Laurel does a good job on the mound," Vaughan said. "She knows she has a good defense behind her and that gives her confidence up there to pitch. She's been working hard, both of our pitchers have been, and it's good to see things start to come around."
While Sikeston lost by nine runs, the score is misleading as the Lady Bulldogs played well for most of the game.
"I told the girls that we played solid for five strong innings but a game is seven innings long," King said. "We played really good defense and were aggressive on the bases and hit the ball well, I'm just hoping that we just continue to build on it and carry it on over to (districts)."
Sikeston (4-17) was led in hitting by Emilie Martin who finished the day going 2-for-4 with two singles. Kayla Scherer and Nicki James also collected one hit as did lone senior Kaitlyn Turnbow, who was playing her final home game for the Lady Bulldogs.
"This is my fourth year here and this is Kaitlyn's fourth year here and she has been with me all four years," King said. "She is going to be a leader that we truly miss. It takes heart to stick it out for four years and be on some good teams and bad teams but she has always stuck with it and always been a leader that we needed her to be."
Kennett (9-8) was led in hitting by Luce who went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs. Kalee Gore, Laurel Scales and Jordan Malady each finished the day with two hits as well.
Up next for Sikeston and Kennett will be districts that begin Thursday at Cape-Notre Dame. Kennett will take on Windsor at 3 p.m. while Sikeston will play Festus at 6 p.m.
"I don't know much about Festus, but I think they are a lot like us," King said. "Whenever they get down, they have a hard time getting back up and we just need to get on top early. But I think the district is going to be up for grabs."