(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- It was a vast improvement from the last time the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs played the Lady Bulldogs from Notre Dame, although the result was still the same.
Sikeston, who was blasted by Notre Dame 17-1 during the Notre Dame Softballfest just over a week ago, kept it relatively close on Monday afternoon in a 9-5 loss.
"I told them to hold their heads up," Sikeston head coach Tiffany Morgan said. "For us to come out and compete with them, I didn't think that they thought we would give them a run like we did.
"A lot better performance than the last time we played."
Save for the fifth inning, Sikeston, who has lost their last five games, stood toe-to-toe with one of the area's best. The breakdown that was the fifth accounted for five of Notre Dame's runs on two hits, one walk and three errors.
"The girls executed on defense but one bad inning can mean the difference in a win or a loss," said Morgan. "You take that one inning away and the defense looked great."
Undefeated Notre Dame (10-0) put early pressure on Sikeston (4-6) with two runs in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Brianne Sanders, along with most of the Notre Dame roster, utilized their speed and knowledge on the base paths to score the majority of their runs.
"We had a little speed that we took advantage of in that big inning," Notre Dame head coach Jeff Graviett said. "If we can get our speed going, we're tough to hold."
After Notre Dame's two runs in the first, Sikeston answered with one in the bottom of the first after Sarah Hopson singled up the middle and eventually scored on a passed ball making it 2-1.
The 1-run game would stick until Notre Dame's 5-run fifth. The blue Lady Bulldogs extended their lead to an 8-run advantage in the top of the sixth when Ashton Elfrink and Sanders both scored on a groundout and then a single by Savanna Ayers.
Sikeston made a late charge with two runs each in the sixth and seventh during a Notre Dame defensive lapse, but it wasn't enough.
"I thought defensively we struggled," Graviett said. "We made a lot more errors than we normally do. But, give Sikeston some credit for putting the bat on the ball.
"It was a lot better ball club than we saw a week ago."
Sydney Davied received the start for the red Lady Bulldogs and kept Notre Dame under wraps, for the most part.
"I thought (Sikeston's) pitcher did a tremendous job," said Graviett. "She kept us in check. She was changing speeds and moving it around."
Davied went the full seven innings giving up five of Notre Dame's nine runs on six hits.
"Sydney came out and was working her pitches," Morgan said. "Her pitches were really moving today. You are going to give up those hits to a team like that. But, for the most part, she stayed focused throughout the game. She's definitely earning that spot."
Sikeston will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to East Prairie to take on the Lady Eagles.
Notre Dame 200 052 0 -- 9
Sikeston 100 002 2 -- 5
WP -- Katie Bond. LP -- Sydney Davied. Multiple hitters -- (N) Brianne Sanders 2-3, Savanna Ayers 2-3; (S) Sarah Hopson 3-4. 2B -- (N) Sanders; (S) Davied, Nicki James.