Despite issuing several walks and blowing a 9-1 lead, the Indians pounded out 15 hits and hit three home runs to beat the Sikeston Bulldogs, 18-11, Wednesday at Indian Park.
"I don't know if we've beaten them in 10 years," Kennett coach Bart McAtee said. "I know at least 10, maybe longer than that. It's good to get the monkey off our back, I guess. We came out swinging well and came out with a lot of intensity."
Said senior Ryne Branum, who hit two of the Indians' homers Wednesday: "We haven't beat them in about 10 years. Coach really wanted to beat them. We came out and hit the ball good and played good defense overall."
Wednesday's offensive explosion comes on the heels of three games where Kennett struggled to score runs. The Indians had scored just 14 runs in their three previous games against Poplar Bluff, South Pemiscot and Senath-
"We've been playing pretty crappy the last couple of games," senior Cody Dawson said. "If we just come out playing hard against the good teams, I think we got a pretty good chance (of) going all the way."
Another positive from Wednesday was the offensive play of Chase Smith, who was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and was a home run away from hitting for the cycle.
"Chase is another guy that's been playing now for three or four years," McAtee said. "It's time for him to start hitting and he hit well today. If we can get him and Josh going there at the top of the lineup with Ryne and Jared coming up behind them...that'll help the lineup as a whole."
Kennett (9-1, 5-1 SEMO Conference) led 9-1 entering the third inning, but Sikeston (5-8, 3-4) scored eight runs in the top of the inning even the score at 9-all after Branum left the mound because of an arm injury.
However, the Indians answered in the bottom of the third with an eight-run rally of their own.
Chase Smith doubled to left field to drive home Heath Storey and Jimmy Clifton and break the tie, then Branum greeted reliever Dustin Barker with a home run over the right-field fence that brought home Smith and Josh Lancaster for a 14-9 lead.
"He's really swinging good," McAtee said. "He's got a lot of bat speed. Ryne's got the power. If he gets the ball up in the air, it's going to go, especially in our park. He's got tremendous power and good speed, and that's what we're looking for from Ryne and Jared both."
Storey took a bases-loaded walk later in the inning to drive in Dawson, and Clifton doubled home Robert Lockett and Paul Harris to cap the rally.
Earlier in the game, the Indians were in command, taking advantage of a pair of Sikeston errors in a five-run first inning.
After a dropped foul ball gave Branum new life at the plate, he hit a bomb over the center-field fence to put Kennett ahead 2-1, then after another Sikeston error prolonged the inning, Paul Harris hit a three-run blast out to center.
The Indians kept up the rally in the second inning, as Smith tripled home Josh Lancaster for a 6-1 lead, then Jared Hughes doubled in Smith and courtesy runner Wesley Jackson for an 8-1 advantage.
Eric Preyer pitched 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief to pick up the win in his first trip to the mound of the season.
"Eric came in and did a good job for us," McAtee said. "Eric hadn't even thrown all year for us in games. That's tough coming in not having thrown all year and come in and do a good job like he did."
The Indians are off until Monday, when they host New Madrid County Central in another SEMO Conference contest.
Kennett 18, Sikeston 11
SIKESTON (ab-r-h-bi) -- Droddy ss-p 3-1-0-1, Scott 3b 3-2-1-1, Baker 1b 3
-1-2-5, Ferrell c 3-1-0-0, Box cr 0-1-0-0, Lambert dh 3-1-1-0, Pierce pr 0-0-0-0, Barker rf-p 1-1-0-0, Anderson ss 1-0-0-0, Williams 2b 3-1-2-2, Limbaugh p 2-0-0-0, J. Jackson lf 1-0-0-0, Gilliland lf-rf 2-2-0-2. Totals: 25-11-5-11.
KENNETT -- Lancaster c 5-2-1-0, Smith lf 5-3-3-3, R. Branum p-1b 3-2-2-5, W. Jackson cr 0-1-0-0, Hughes 1b-3b-p 5-1-1-2, Dawson cf 4-3-3-0, Lockett 2b 3-2-1-1, Harris dh-p-3b 4-2-1-3, Storey 3b-rf 3-1-1-1, Clifton ss 4-1-2-2.
2B -- Baker, Clifton, Dawson, Hughes. 3B -- Dawson. HR -- R. Branum 2, Baker, Harris. SAC -- Williams. HBP -- R. Branum, Jackson, Scott. SB -- Dawson 2, Lockett. CS -- Williams. LOB -- Sikeston 12, Kennett 4.