(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Plagued by errors in the field and a cold night night at the plate on Thursday, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs watched the visiting Oran Lady Eagles build an early lead before holding for a 9-2 win.
"We didn't hit the ball well and our defense wasn't as good as it usually is," Sikeston assistant coach Paige Silverthorn said. "We just weren't up to where we usually are and weren't playing like we usually do. We were not the Sikeston Bulldogs softball team that I know."
Though the Lady Bulldogs didn't surrender one big inning, the Lady Eagles were able to put runs on the board in each of the first six innings to slowly pull away.
Coming out of the first frame tied 1-1, Oran scored the go-ahead run in the second inning after a pair of walks and single Courtney Scheeter loaded the bases with one out. Taking advantage of a passed ball, courtesy runner Brooke Schlitt came home from third to give the Lady Eagles a 2-1 advantage.
Through the next five innings, Oran continued to pad its newfound lead starting with a two-run rally in the third and followed by runs in both the third and fourth innings to take a 6-2 lead.
It was in the sixth, however, that the Lady Eagles put up their biggest rally of the night, scoring three runs to go up by the 9-2 final.
Putting runners on second and third after an initial strikeout kicked off the frame, Oran was able to score the first two runs of the frame when a hard hit ground ball went under the glove of Sikeston's shortstop and rolled into the outfield. The final run of the night came when Anna Jones hit a line drive to right center field, scoring Laci Glastetter from second.
"I'm just extremely pleased with their effort," Oran head coach Wade Sanders said of his team. "I didn't expect that, especially with the cool weather, the wind blowing and it sprinkling.
"I expected them to come out flat again and they fooled me. I'm proud of them."
While her offense gave her plenty of insurance, Lady Eagle's starting pitcher Morgan Todt picked up the win giving up both runs on five and four walks without collecting a strikeout.
"That's all we ask of her is to just get the ball over and (let them) put it in play," Sanders said. "I'm so proud of the defense the way that we back (our pitcher) up. It seems like we're getting a double play or two every game and we're just playing really good defense right now."
Leading Oran's offensive effort, Molly McConnell was 2 for 5 on contest with a run scored and a run batted in. Chrissy Sauceda had the team lone extra-base hit, a double in the fifth.
For Sikeston, Madison Chaney, Sarah Dixon, Maggie Shepherd and Annie Ramey each contributed a single to the Lady Bulldogs while Sydney King collected double.
It was on King's double in the first that Sikeston tied things up in the bottom of the first. King's shot sailed over the left fielder's head, allowing Sarah Dixon to score from first.
Their only other run of the night came in the fourth when, with bases loaded and one out, Lauren Graham hit a pop up that sailed just past the third base bag.
With the shortstop catching the ball and throwing to first trying for a double play, Annie Ramey was able to score from third to close to Lady Bulldogs to within 5-2.
That was one of several innings where the Bulldogs had multiple runners in scoring position, but weren't able to capitalize with a big rally.
"We left a lot of runners on base," Silverthorn said. "We have to keep that mind set that when you have a person on second you're looking to go to right field with it to move them over or score them. We just have to get back in that mind set again of hitting the ball."
Sikeston (7-11) will host Scott City on Monday at at 4 p.m. while Oran (10-7) will travel to Kelly on Wednesday to play the Lady Hawks at 4 p.m.