The Bulls stepped up and got it done, defeating Tradewater 5-3 heading into a pivotal three-game road trip to Union City, and then a two-game homestand against first place Fulton on the weekend.
"Even though we've been slumping as of late, tonight's game was really important because we're about to play the No. 2 team and then the No. 1 team right after that -- we had to win tonight," said Sikeston coach Jamie Puckett. "A lot of these guys stepped up tonight like I asked them to. It was a whole team effort. Everybody in the dugout and out on the field did their part tonight. It was a big relief to get out of this slump and play like we did tonight."
Sikeston led 1-0 early in the game, but Tradewater's Matt Toffaletti blasted a three-run home run over the left field fence in the top of the fourth inning to push the Pirates into the lead.
However, instead of accepting defeat, the Bulls rallied with patient at-bats and good base running.
Sikeston scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth, scoring the tying and the go-ahead runs on wild pitches.
"We had a couple wild pitches that hurt us there," said Tradewater coach Bob Mantooth. "That happens sometimes. Those ended up hurting us."
The runs proved to be enough for right-hander Jeremy Brinkmeyer, who had one of his best outings of the season.
Normally a relief pitcher, Puckett gave him the start and it paid off.
Brinkmeyer threw 8 1/3 innings, allowing three runs off seven hits. He struck out three and walked just two.
Ryan Poole threw the final 2/3 of an inning to record the save.
"He pitched a heck of a game tonight," said Puckett. "That was the best game he's thrown. His last start against Union City he left everything up, but I wanted to give him another chance. He stepped it up and showed me tonight that he deserves another start."
Sikeston scored its first run in the bottom of the second on an RBI-single by Jared Hughes.
In the fifth, Mason Mosby had a fielder's choice-RBI. Brooks Royer and Mosby eventually scored the tying and go-ahead runs on wild pitches.
Sikeston added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on Derrick Washington's fielder's choice-RBI.
"Sometimes if you don't get the hit, if you just run out ground balls and hustle up the line then good things happen, and that's what we did tonight," said Puckett. "When your pitcher's pitching a heck of a game you want to give him as many runs as you can."
Tradewater's Kris Marshall was saddled with the loss in 4 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs off six hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
John Doyle threw 1 1/3 innings of relief. He was responsible for one of the wild pitches. Logan Neal threw the final two innings, allowing a run in the eighth.
Royer led the Bulls offensively, going 2-3 with a run. Mosby was 2-4 with an RBI and a run. Poole, Scott Hudgins and Hughes each had a hit. Hudgins scored two runs.
Toffaletti and Kole each had two hits to lead Tradewater (15-16).
"We left a few men on," said Mantooth. "Sikeston made some nice defensive plays. They turned one or two double plays which took us out of some things. The kid pitched a real good game. He did a nice job and you have to give him a lot of credit."
Sikeston (16-18) will start its three-game series with Union City tomorrow at 7 p.m. The Bulls will return home on Saturday when they host Fulton at 7 p.m.
"If we could do this the rest of the season there's no telling how good we could be," said Puckett.