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Bulls set to kick off another KIT League season

Sunday, May 27, 2007

(Photo)
The Sikeston Bulls will open the season at Owensboro, Ky.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulls first official season didn't produce many victories on the field in the Kitty League last year, but a decent fan base was established and the foundation has been laid for new coach Jamie Puckett.

The Bulls are under new management this year with Fred Johnson taking over general manager duties and Puckett, a player-coach last season, will be the head coach of the team.

Last season, the Bulls finished in last place in the league with a 16-33 record. Sikeston was dreadful on the road winning only three of 24 contests, however, the Bulls were respectable at home going 13-12.

Puckett, who was one of the team's top players while assisting in coaching, has exhausted his eligibility for the league. But he thinks he has been able to bring in some new faces, including some familiar faces to area high school fans this season, that will make the team more competitive.

"We're going to definitely try to win the league," said Puckett, who graduated from Sikeston High School in 2002. "The past couple of summers the team has been down, finishing in last place. Not too many people have been excited about it. I've brought in a bunch of players that want to play and want to win. They're more local players too, so hopefully we can get a good fan base for the team."

The Bulls franchise took over for the struggling Bootheel Bombers that started two summers ago.

Although the team didn't show much improvement in the win-loss department, word of mouth and special events helped get a larger group of fans out to VFW Stadium.

"We have a bunch of different promotions set up for the summer with a high school night and a mom's night," said Puckett. "We're involved with the little league again this summer. A lot of our sponsors from last year are with us again this year.

"I honestly think this summer we'll have the best attendance than we have had. Fred has done a good job of getting the word out on the team and we have more local kids. I think that will give us more support for this team, especially when people can come out and watch a player that they know."

One familiar name to the area is J.R. Bizzell, a 2005 graduate of Sikeston High School. Bizzell is a sophomore at Rhodes College in Memphis where he was recently named to his second all-conference team for Rhodes' 36-10 team.

Bizzell starts shortstop at Rhodes where he batted .399 with seven doubles, four triples a pair of home runs, 32 RBIs and 55 runs scored this past spring. He also stole 11 bases.

One of Bizzell's teammates, Mason Mosby, will also join the squad after an all-conference campaign for Rhodes.

Other area players that will be joining the team are Cape Central grad Lance Young, Kennett grad Jerod Hughes and Notre Dame grad Jeremy Brinkmeyer.

"I'm expecting to have a real good squad," said Puckett. "The defense and offense I know will be there. It's going to depend on the pitching staff. It's a young staff with mostly freshmen and sophomores. We only have one junior on the whole staff. But I think we'll be contenders in this league."

Puckett said some players are still looking for host families to live with over the summer.

"We're low on host families and jobs for these players," said Puckett. "These players have to have jobs and a place to stay. That's why we're looking for a lot of support from this town."

The Bulls will open the season on Friday at Owensboro, the defending league champions. The Bulls' first home game will be Thursday, June 7 when they host Union City at 7 p.m.