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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Firebirds pitching quiets Bulls' bats

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Home plate umpire Joe Baldwin calls Farmington's Ryan Dickerson out at the plate.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulls' offensive woes continued on Friday night as they fell to the Farmington Firebirds, 3-1 at VFW Stadium.

The Bulls have been managing to pull out victories with pitching and defense for the most part.

While those two phases of the game were once again strong, the Bulls couldn't over come just one run scored and just five hits.

"The only reason we're losing these close games is because we can't get bunts down," said Sikeston coach Jamie Puckett. "It's a fundamental part of the game. You have to move runners over, and we're just not doing it. That's the only thing that's keeping us back right now."

Farmington hurler Jake Donze, a Ste. Genevieve native, threw the complete game victory, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters of the game.

"He just had real good stuff," said Firebirds coach David Cramp. "He's had super stuff all year. We've given him zero run support the last two ballgames. If you give a kid like Donze three runs then you've got a decent chance to win."

He struck out five and walked just two, while the defense behind him turned in a stellar performance of their own.

"That's Kitty League baseball right there," said Cramp. "Last night you had a 3-2 ballgame and it was played well on both sides all game long. And now we've had another game that was played well by both sides."

Sikeston (6-6) took the early lead in the bottom of the third inning on a Derrick Washington sacrifice fly that brought in Chase Kittinger, who singled earlier.

Farmington tied the game on an RBI-double by Jordan Kreke to bring in Tony Spencer in the top of the fifth inning.

The Firebirds (4-8) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI-single by Michael Hall to plate Ryan Meyer.

Farmington added an insurance run in the ninth on Meyer's double down the left field line to plate Ryan Becker.

One batter before, Sikeston turned in an outstanding defensive play. With Ryan Dickerman on first, Becker doubled to the fence in right centerfield. With Dickerman running hard the entire way, Sikeston centerfielder Washington threw a bullet to Bizzell, who relayed a perfect throw to catcher Chase Kittinger to nail Dickerman at the plate.

But Meyer's double brought in the insurance run anyway.

All three of Farmington's runs were scored on two-out hits.

"The two-out hit is the crucial hit," said Cramp. "The Meyer hit that gave us the insurance run was just a crucial play. That changes the whole offensive approach they can take. You can't bunt the runner over anymore or do much else."

Sikeston's best chance to do some damage came in the bottom of the fifth as they loaded the bases with one out, but Robbie Hohler hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

Sikeston had one more legitimate scoring chance in the seventh inning as Michael Sadler walked and was pinch-ran for by Brooks Royer, who stole second and advanced to third on a groundout.

But Donze got Scott Hudgins on a strikeout and forced pinch-hitter J.R. Bizzell into an inning-ending groundout.

Donze retired the side in order in the final two innings.

"(Donze) threw to the outside part of the plate the whole game and we didn't adjust," said Puckett. "He did his job because all of our hitters were trying to pull the ball the whole game. Nobody ever adjusted and tried to take it the other way except maybe Todd (Otto) once or twice."

Lance Young was the hard-luck loser, throwing six innings and allowing two runs off six hits. He struck out five and walked four.

Robert Anders threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Jeremy Brinkmeyer allowed one run off two hits in 1 1/3 innings. Kittinger led the Bulls with two hits. Otto added a double.

Spencer went 2-5 with a run while making tough plays look routine at second base. Kreke went 2-5 with an RBI. Dickerman drew four walks. Meyer was 2-5 with an RBI and a run. Hall went 2-4 with an RBI.

Sikeston was scheduled to play Farmington on Saturday. Results from that game will be in Monday's edition.

The Bulls are off today, but will return to action tomorrow as they host Owensboro at 7 p.m.