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Poplar Bluff spoils SHS home opener 7-1

Friday, August 26, 2011

(Photo)
Sikeston second baseman Andrea Burks makes a throw to first baseman Sydney King while pitcher Paige Sailors looks on during the Lady Bulldogs' first home game of the season against Poplar Bluff on Thursday at the Sikeston Sports Complex.
(Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The offense just wasn't there for the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs softball team on Thursday afternoon, as they fell to the visiting Poplar Bluff Lady Mules 7-1 at the Sikeston Sports Complex during their home opener.

The Lady Bulldogs mustered just five hits -- four of which came in the last two innings.

"The hits weren't there like we needed them," Sikeston assistant coach Paige Silverthorn said. "But, we have the bats and I believe they're going to show up."

Poplar Bluff, however got rolling early.

The Lady Mules plated three in the second inning and three more in the third as they took the early lead.

Emily Burke, Elizabeth Boyher and Courtney Raulston all scored in the second inning to give Poplar Bluff a 3-0 lead.

Three hits and two errors in the third inning pushed the Lady Mules up 6-0 as Randi Montgomery, Alli Brooks and Emily Burke got the inning going with three consecutive singles. They later scored on errors.

"(Poplar Bluff) did their job today," Silverthorn said. "They put the ball in play and they made us make mistakes. You can't win a game unless you put the ball in play and make the other team make mistakes.

"They did everything right and it just wasn't working for us."

With the score glued to 6-0 in favor of Poplar Bluff, Sikeston finally pushed a run across in the bottom of the sixth with the help of their speedy leadoff hitter, Madison Chaney.

Chaney, who features a slap bunt style that almost always goes for a hit, did just that to lead off the inning. She later stole second and third and would eventually score on a fielder's choice play during Bayleah James' at-bat.

Just for insurance, Poplar Bluff added one more in the top of the seventh after Boyher led off the inning with a single. She later took home after an errant throw enabled her to steal third.

Sikeston tried rallying the troops for one final push in the bottom of the seventh as Andrea Burks, Chaney and Annie Ramey loaded the bases with two outs. A groundout to short would cap Sikeston's third straight loss to start the season.

"I'm not worried about it," Silverthorn said about their slow start. "It's early and this team has tons of talent. I know the want is there. It's going to happen. I have full confidence in these girls."

Paige Sailors took the loss for Sikeston. She allowed six runs, one earned, on seven hits. Burks relieved Sailors in the middle of the fifth inning and pitched the remainder of the game.

"(Sailors) pitched very well today," Silverthorn said. "She showed up and did her job. She did what she could but we just didn't have the bats behind her."

Poplar Bluff's Rebeccah Watkins earned the win in the circle. She pitched six innings until Niki Fratesi took over the pitching duties in the very last inning.

Montgomery, Brooks and Burke all had two singles for Poplar Bluff.

Chaney's two slap singles led Sikeston's offensive charge.

Sikeston's defense, again hurt their chances at winning their first game of the season as they committed eight blunders in the field.

"We came out a little dead," Silverthorn said. "Towards the end of the game we started showing up a little bit. Again, it's our defensive errors that's killing us. The effort is there, we're young and they're playing their hearts out.

"We're just making defensive errors we don't need."