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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Bulls debut with win

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

(Photo)
The Charleston Riverdogs' A.H. Marshall puts the ball into play.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulls and the Charleston Riverdogs opened their seasons with an exhibition game at V.F.W. Stadium on Tuesday night.

Both teams are experiencing a transition of sorts.

The Bulls, a summer league team of current college-eligible players, are under new management in their second season. Formerly known as the Bootheel Bombers, the Bulls are members of the six-team Kitty League. The Kitty League, with teams in Farmington (Mo.), Fulton (Ky.), Owensboro (Ky.), Union City (Tenn.) and McKenzie (Tenn.) has expanded from four teams last season.

The Riverdogs, an independent summer league team comprised primarily of local talent, have relocated to Charleston after a seven-year stay in Cape Girardeau.

The non-counting scrimmage provided an opportunity for each team's field managers, the Bulls Matt Marshall, who is returning for a second season, and Robin Minner and Ray Craft, both of whom have been guiding the Riverdogs since their inception in 1999, to assess this season's talent.

(Photo)
Michael Skinner of the Sikeston Bulls is interviewed by local media.
The Bulls, on the strength of a nine-run inning, defeated the Riverdogs 13-3. Both teams subbed liberally, especially at the pitching position with 11 hurlers seeing action -- six for the Riverdogs, five for the Bulls.

The Riverdogs, behind solid pitching performances from starter Steve Fowler and first reliever Tim Davis, took the early advantage with a single run in the third inning and two in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.

A nightmarish, for the Riverdogs, sixth inning changed the entire complexion of the game.

The Bulls, aided by five errors, two walks and two hit batsmen, sent 15 batters to the plate in the frame to take a commanding 9-3 lead.

Sikeston tacked on a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to close the scoring.

"We're not disappointed," said Minner. "We always have to play ourselves into shape, having only two active players on the roster coming off college seasons."

Minner said he was encouraged by the Riverdogs' effort through five innings, particularly the moundwork.

Marshall, too, liked what he saw in the Bulls' debut outing.

"I'm happy with the overall performance tonight," he said. "We've got a lot of depth and I'm comfortable putting any guy we have out there and knowing that they will get the job done. That's going to be a huge asset throughout the season.

"I was very pleased with the defensive effort and defense is going to win more games (than offense), especially with the wood bats."

The Bulls defense sprinkled several nice plays throughout a one-error showing.

Marshall also commented on the new structure of the team and the league.

He said, "Jason Compton, our general manager, has done a tremendous job. He's been busting his hump everyday. He did a lot of work putting this team together and he's been a big part of why all this is turning into what it is.

"I feel that we should be at the top of the league and make a run for the championship this year," Marshall added.

Center-fielder Adam Darby, selected as the player of the game, led the Bulls' 14-hit attack with four hits in six trips with two runs scored and one RBI.

Left-fielder J.D. Glenn went 2-for-6 with two runs scored and a RBI and right-fielder Nate Blum went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Former Cape Central standout Sean Bard went 1-for-3, scored three runs and drove home two.

Kennett's Billy Palmer paced the Riverdogs with a 2-for-4 day. Oran's Trevor Irwin and Notre Dame alumnus Andrew Depeder split the other two Riverdog hits. Patrick Slattery, another Cape Central product, went hitless but had a team-high two RBIs.

David Reynolds, from East Carter County, was credited with the win; Brandon Stearns took the loss.

The Bulls open the regular season with a home league encounter against last year's Kitty League champion, the Farmington Firebirds, on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

The Riverdogs open against the Indiana Outlaws on Friday at their new home, Hillhouse Park in Charleston.