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Notre Dame outslugs Sikeston 11-7

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sikeston's Drew Harper chases down Notre Dame's Kyle Campbell during a rundown in the top of the seventh on Tuesday afternoon at VFW Stadium. Looking on is Sikeston's Blake Newman. David Jenkins, Staff
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs baseball team opened the season with an 11-7 loss to SEMO Conference rival Notre Dame on Tuesday afternoon at VFW Stadium.

The Bulldogs actually held a 5-4 lead after three innings of play, but the bats went cold and the Notre Dame offense came alive to spur the team to victory.

Sikeston has had limited practice time after the basketball team's state title run. And many of the practices they have had were forced indoors due to weather.

Those two combinations kept Sikeston coach Kevin Self upbeat after the game, but he hopes the team can show improvement quickly with two more games scheduled this week.

"We're going to have to throw strikes and stay down in the zone," Self said. "We'll get better. It's the first game. We've missed some practices and we've been inside a lot, so we will definitely get better."

Notre Dame, a state quarterfinalist a year ago, appeared sharp in its second game of the season, pounding out 15 hits on the afternoon.

Notre Dame (2-0) sprayed the baseball all over the field and were deadly on the basepaths, stealing five bases and oftentimes taking the extra base on numerous wild pitches and passed balls by Sikeston.

"We capitalized and ran the bases well -- we had a lot of stolen bases today," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "Defensively if you take out that last inning, we played a pretty good game all the way around. We had 12 strikeouts on Friday, so the way we swung today was a night and day difference."

Notre Dame grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Kyle Campbell singled and eventually came around to score on Jon Lynch's sacrifice fly.

Sikeston responded with three runs in the bottom of the first highlighted by Nathan Rodgers' two-run triple. Blake Newman then plated Rodgers with a single to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.

Notre Dame tied it at 3-3 on Cody Heisserer's two-run homer in the top of the second. They came back with another run in the top of the fourth to lead 4-3.

In the bottom of the third, Sikeston took its final lead of the game when Tyler Anderson scored on a wild pitch followed by Trent McMillan's solo home run over the left field fence to lead 5-4.

Notre Dame came right back with two more runs in the fop of the fourth and they never trailed again.

Graviett pulled starter Stephen Carman for ace hurler Heisserer, who ended up picking up the win in four innings of relief. He allowed just two hits and one unearned run while striking out six and walking three.

"After three we are up 5-4 and we're swinging the bats pretty well, but then they went to their best in the Heisserer kid," Self said. "He came in and we had a hard time catching up. He pretty much shut us down."

Notre Dame plated two more runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh to put the game away.

Trailing 11-5, Sikeston finally got to Heisserer in the bottom of the seventh with a pair of runs off Newman's double to centerfield but that would be all they could muster.

Sikeston's Ross Bohannon was saddled with the loss in relief as he threw three-plus innings, allowing five runs (four earned) off seven hits with one strikeout and two walks.

Sophomore righty Drew Harper started the game and threw two innings, allowing three runs off four hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

"Where we really struggled was throwing good sharp breaking balls," Self said. "We had a hard time spotting our pitches. When we threw strikes we were in the middle of the zone. We weren't on the corners. It looked like to me that they were just really sitting on those pitches. When we threw a strike in the middle of the plate, they let us know."

Newman went 2-3 with three RBIs for Sikeston.

Campbell went 3-3 with three steals and two runs for Notre Dame. Lynch, Eric Hayes, Tyler Buelow, Jesse Schott, Heisserer and Derek Landewee each had two hits.

Notre Dame's Carman threw three innings, allowing five runs off five hits with three walks and a strikeout.

"I thought once he settled down after the first inning, he threw the ball well," Graviett said. "He's not a kid that's going to fool a lot of people, but he changes speeds and keeps you in ballgames."

Notre Dame will host Fredericktown on Friday. Sikeston hosts Kelly today at 4 p.m.

Junior varsity

The Sikeston Bulldogs junior varsity team pulled out a 7-6 win over Notre Dame in eight innings on Tuesday afternoon.

With the score tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh, Sikeston's John Foster singled, scoring Doug Still to give the Bulldogs the win.

Foster finished with two hits on the day and two RBIs. Gavin O'Brien also collected two hits as did Colton Black, one of which was a home run. Sikeston's Tyler Neal also slammed a home run in the game.

Trey Tigart earned the win on the mound for Sikeston (1-0).

Notre Dame 121 220 3 -- 11

Sikeston 302 000 2 -- 7

WP -- Cody Heisserer. LP -- Ross Bohannon. 2B -- (ND) Eric Hayes 2, Jesse Schott. (S) Luke Keefer, Blake Newman. 3B -- (S) Nathan Rodgers. HR -- (ND) Heisserer. (S) Trent McMillan.