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Bulls defeat Railroaders, 5-4

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

(Photo)
Sikeston's Jamie Puckett slides in safely to third.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulls continued their hot streak in Kitty League play, with a 5-4 comeback victory over the visiting Fulton (Ky.) Railroaders Monday night at VFW Stadium.

The Bulls moved into third place, winning three straight and five of their last six games.

"The team is really coming together," said Bulls manager Matt Marshall. "The guys are playing good ball and things are starting to go our way. We are starting to find our groove and make things happen out in the field. They (Fulton) are a good team, but we just played real well and get the clutch hit when we needed it."

The clutch hit described by Marshall came from Bulls left fielder Jamie Puckett, who drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth for Sikeston.

The Railroaders led 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth, after Grey Avant hit an RBI double to score Daniel Beasley to break the 3-3 deadlock.

(Photo)
Sikeston's Justin Rodgers fires a pitch.
In the Bulls half of the inning, Tyson Mulvaney led off the rally with a single. After a groundout, shortstop Tyler Martin singled to right field and scored Mulvaney for the tying run.

Nate Bloom and Clint Wallace followed with consecutive singles to load the bases for the Bulls with one out and Puckett due up.

On the first pitch from the Railroaders hurler, Puckett chopped the ball over the mound and into no man's land between shortstop and second base.

Fulton's Matt Shao at short, cut off the ball but had no play at home as Martin crossed home. Shao was regulated to stepping on second base for the second out of the inning.

"I went up looking for a fastball and he threw me one on the first pitch," said Puckett. "All you have to do in that situation is put the ball in play. I have been taught all through baseball just put it in play and good things can happen."

(Photo)
Sikeston's Sean Bard tires to avoid a tag.
Puckett only got one hit, but the hit was a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line that could not be defended. Puckett scored two runs, stole two bases, walked and drove in the game-winning run. Not bad for a player who began the season as third base coach for the Bulls.

"Jamie makes our motor run by doing all the little things that win games for a team," said Marshall. "He is a spark and he just makes a big difference on our team. Jamie is the type of player you do not want to put on base because he can cause so much havoc for the opposing team."

Bulls closer Dan Robbins came in and shut the door on Fulton by retiring the side in order and recording two strikeouts to secure the win for Sikeston. Robbins recorded his third save on the season for the Bulls.

"When we took the one-run lead heading into the ninth," said Marshall, "I felt confident that Dan would go out there and finish the game off for us. He is our closer and I felt that the game was ours and Dan did his job."

Sikeston started the scoring in the bottom of the third, as second baseman Bo Whittaker singled to right field scoring Puckett from second base.

Bulls starting pitcher Justin Rodgers pitched an effective game going six plus innings and striking out four, but of Rodgers' four walks, three came around to score.

The first run for the Railroaders came in the fourth, as Judd Powers led off the inning with a walk and scored on a two out double by Beasley.

Fulton (6-8) extended the lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth, as the Railroaders scored two runs on fielder's choice plays hit by Powers and Zak Shy.

The Bulls responded with two runs in their half of the fifth. Puckett started off the inning with a walk. Adam Darby followed with a single.

Puckett scored on a throwing error by Fulton's starting pitcher Christian Pritchett and Darby scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Andy Wall.

"You can tell we are starting to progress," said Puckett. "Our pitching and defense the last six games has been unbelievable. We are starting to catch fire on offense and early on, that was our big thing at the beginning of the season. We are getting used to the wooden bats and starting to put complete games together."

The Bulls will head out on five-day, five-game road trip that begins today at Union City. Sikeston will have two games against the Greyhounds and the final three games will be at the Tennessee T's in McKenzie (Tenn.) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

"We have a couple of one-day trips coming up," said Marshall, "but that shouldn't be a problem for the guys. We enjoy traveling just as much as being at home, so I don't expect any let downs."

Sikeston (7-7) will return home on Monday against Union City at 7:05 p.m.

The Bulls have a special promotion on Monday games the rest of the season. Present a valid College I.D. and get one free admission for each ticket you buy.

Sikeston 4, Fulton 3

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WP - Gavin Mitchell

LP - Carl Upton

2B - Sean Bard (S), Daniel Beasley (F), Matt Shao (F), Allen Bolden (F), Grey Avant (F).

Multiple hitters - Sikeston: Bard 2-4. Fulton: Brandon Bennett 2-4, Shao 2-5. LOB - Sikeston (9), Fulton (10)

Records - Sikeston (7-7), Fulton (6-8).