SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team will have a familiar foe in tomorrow's Class 3 Sectional matchup.
Although the Bulldogs have never played Farmington in a sectional game before, the Knights are a regular on the Sikeston schedule every year.
The Bulldogs, which lost to Farmington 8-0 back in April, will host Farmington tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.
"They're going to be a big challenge because they're pretty good," said Sikeston coach Kevin Self. "When we played them up there they were solid. They were solid defensively, they pitch well, they hit well. I think they're a lot like us with the respect that they're going to play good defense and they're fundamentally sound. They're going to be a handful."
Farmington, which dropped to Class 4 this year after competing in Class 5, defeated long-time nemesis North County and top-seeded Festus in the District 2 championship game.
The Knights enter tomorrow's game with a 17-10 record. The Knights have three common opponents with Sikeston. They split two games with Fredericktown, lost to Notre Dame and defeated Poplar Bluff.
Sikeston enters the game with a 20-6 mark. The Bulldogs defeated Fredericktown, split two games with Notre Dame and defeated Poplar Bluff.
Sikeston owes its other five losses to DeSmet, Marion (Ill.), Jackson and Dexter.
"I think it will be a close game," said Self. "It will be hard-fought. The team that is able to get key hits early in the game and can take advantage of opportunities early in the game will have a leg up. There's a lot less pressure to hit when you get up two or three runs than when you're down."
Farmington will most likely pitch Isaac Armstrong, who is 6-1 on the season and has a 3.28 earned run average. He has struck out 47 batters in 42 2/3 innings, but has had control problems, walking 30.
Waylon Gonz, a left-hander that defeated Sikeston in the first meeting, is no longer with the team according to Self.
"It's not like some schools where they've got one pitcher and he does everything for them," said Self. "They've got several good players. Even though the kid that threw against us isn't with them, they still have plenty of guys that can get the job done."
The Knights have an abundance of capable hitters led by Derek Stroup (.427, 21 RBIs), Eric Koppeis (.373, 3 HR, 21 RBIs), Armstrong (.359, 11 RBIs) and Cragon McBride (.352, 2 HR, 23 RBIs).
Sikeston is expected to go with Jerod Scott on the mound. The senior all-
conference pitcher is 8-0 on the season with a 1.80 ERA and one save. He has thrown 46 2/3 innings, allowing 34 hits with 48 strikeouts and just 11 walks.
"It will be like our district championship game," said Self. "We'll be locked in with Jerod. We're healthy -- I guess we're as healthy as we can be. That's who we're going with and we'll play it as much like Game 7 of a World Series as we can.
"I feel like Jerod is ready and he will throw well. If we can score him some runs I think we'll win the ballgame."