(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team took advantage of some costly mistakes and timely hitting, to dispatch the visiting East Carter County Redbirds 11-1 on Friday afternoon.
Trailing 1-0 after one complete inning, the Bulldogs scored 11 unanswered runs to down the Redbirds.
Sikeston broke the game open in their half of the fourth, with seven runs highlighted by a bases clearing double by sophomore Garrett Limbaugh.
The game started off ominously for the Bulldogs, as East Carter leadoff hitter Austin Douglass tripled to center field. Senior Andrew Box dove for a spectacular catch, but the ball went inches under the glove and Douglass ended up on third.
Douglass scored the lone run for the Redbirds off a wild pitch thrown by Sikeston starter Scott Droddy.
Sikeston broke through on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. Box led off the inning with a single. Limbaugh sacrificed bunt Box over to second.
At the top of the lineup for the Bulldogs, Droddy hit a grounder to the Redbird second baseman. Fortunately for Sikeston, what appeared to be an easy put-out, turned into an RBI for Droddy as the ball took a crazy hop over the infielder and into right field.
Droddy scored the second run of the third on an errant throw to first by the East Carter third baseman. Junior Jerod Scott drove in Josh Jackson for the final tally of the inning for the Bulldogs. After three innings of play, Sikeston led 3-1.
"Early on in the first inning," said Sikeston head coach Kevin Self, "Andrew tried to make a fantastic play in the first inning. We kind of spotted them a run early. They gave us a couple of runs back later."
East Carter head coach Brock Crowley thought that a few breaks here and there, the outcome could have been different.
"We had a routine ground ball pop us in our face an we kind of let it snowball and we fell apart a little bit," said Crowley. "Didn't hit, we got a lead in the first inning and didn't put any pressure on them. We let them hang around and hang around, they were going to come back and bite us."
Sikeston's big fourth inning was started by a leadoff home run by senior Cody Black to left field. Sophomore Nick Lambert followed with a double, Chase Ferrell walked, and Box singled to set up the 3-run double by Limbaugh.
Still with nobody out in the fourth, Droddy reached base on a error by the Redbirds first baseman. Jackson drove in Droddy on a double and Sikeston led 9-1.
After another throwing error by East Carter's third baseman, Tyler Baker hit a sacrifice fly into center field, that scored Jackson and the Bulldogs led 10-1 after the fourth inning.
"Their third baseman had a tough day, we hit a couple of balls hard at him," said Self. "If you don't play on our infield enough, that lip is kind of tough.
They gave us a couple of runs and we cashed in. With the wind blowing out at 25-30 miles per hour, anything in the air was going to be a circus."
After the initial run in the first, Droddy pitched a solid game the rest of the way. Droddy went the distance, gave up only three hits, struckout five and walked two.
"Big thing of the game was that Droddy threw strikes and kept them off balance at the plate," said Self. "Probably the best pitching performance of the year for us. Scott threw the ball well against DeSmet and I wanted to give him another opportunity. He threw the ball really well today."
The Bulldogs scored a run in the bottom of the fifth to put the mercy rule into effect. Joey Williams pinch hit to lead off the fifth and promptly doubled.
The second consecutive pinch hitter of the inning, Austin Williams, drove in Joey Williams with a double of his own. Sikeston finished off East Carter 11-1.
Crowley is trying to have some patience for his young club.
"We had a couple of guys out there who hadn't played much this year, trying to play new positions," said Crowley. "We are going to have to cut down on our errors."
Douglass, Chip Nance and James Carter all had one hit for the Redbirds. Brad Lewis started the game for East Carter and went three innings, gave up seven hits, walked two, had one strikeout, gave up eight runs but only five runs were earned.
Andrew Box and Cody Black both went 2-for-2 for the Bulldogs. Limbaugh had 3 RBIs while Droddy, Jackson, Baker, Black and Austin Williams all had an RBI for Sikeston.
"We weren't sharp, but we were sharp enough to win today," said Self. "I feel like we are getting better. We're learning and we're young, but we still have a long way to go. We're going to take it one day at a time and try to get better each game. We are not so much worried about wins and losses, but we are working at getting better."
East Carter (1-2) travels to Twin Rivers on Monday at 4 p.m.
Sikeston (3-2) played at Perryville on Saturday. Results will be printed in the Standard Democrat on Monday.
Cody Anderson and Seth Baker each had three hits to lead the junior varsity in the rout over the Redbirds. Adam Kimball, Caleb Davidson and Tyler Dame each had two hits for the Bulldogs.
Josh Pierce, Vince Howard, Hunter Dillender, Stan Ivie and Charlie Bohannon all had one hit for Sikeston.
Baker went the distance for Sikeston striking out 12, gave up no hits, walked three and allowed one run.
The junior varsity traveled with the varsity to Perryville on Saturday.
WP - Scott Droddy LP - Brad Lewis HR - Cody Black (S) 3B - Austin Douglass (EC) 2B - Nick Lambert (S), Garrett Limbaugh (S), Josh Jackson (S), Joey Williams (S), Austin Williams (S). Multiple hits - Sikeston: Cody Black 2-2, Andrew Box 2-2. Records - Sikeston 3-2, East Carter 1-2.