(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- For the most part this season, the Sikeston Bulldogs been a consistent hitting baseball team.
But the Bulldogs' bats went silent on Thursday at VFW Stadium in a 3-1 loss to Farmington on a cold, windy and wet afternoon.
The Bulldogs managed just three hits against the Knights' hurler Doug Warren and only put nine runners on base the in the contest.
Sikeston coach Alan Scheeter felt it wasn't as much a physical problem as it was in the team's head prior to the start of the game.
"I don't think we were ever mentally ready to play," Scheeter said. "I don't think we showed up ready. And when you've got a pitcher that's on like he was today, that's a bad combination."
Warren, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior wasn't overpowering, but he was effective. He threw all seven innings and allowed just one run off three hits. He struck out three and walked five.
"We got a really good performance out of Doug Warren on the mound," Farmington coach Craig Gibbs said. "I thought he located the baseball very well and he got ahead of hitters."
The Bulldogs (6-3) didn't hit many balls hard against Warren, and the few that were hit with authority were hung up in the air by the crosswind blowing in from left field.
"It looked like we were just trying to hit the ball harder than we needed to," Scheeter said. "I don't think we had too many quality at-bats. We didn't hit the ball hard much. We only had three hits, credit him. He had a good little breaking ball and he changed speeds well."
To make matters worse for the Bulldogs, twice Sikeston had runners on base, the Knights got out of the jams by turning double plays.
"Turning those double plays was huge," Gibbs said. "(Warren's) changeup is real effective. That's his out pitch. He kind of sets kids up with his curve balls. He's long and tall and he's real methodical and slow. He's a low 80s guy, but as slow and methodical as he is, I think the ball gets on them a little quicker and they get tied up a little bit."
Farmington (6-2) got things started by scoring a run in the top of the first.
Alex Pinkston doubled to lead off the game and eventually scored on a fielder's choice by Logan Bradley to lead 1-0.
Sikeston tied the game in the bottom of the third when Cord Sheehy doubled into the left centerfield gap and scored on Luke Keefer's single to left.
Farmington took the lead for good in the top of the fourth.
Bulldog hurler Drew Harper was able to get the first two batters out, but a walk to Rider Garrett and back-to-back singles by Warren and Kyle Warren brought in the go-ahead run.
The Knights added an insurance run in the top of the sixth on Warren's RBI-double.
"We got some timely hitting, which helped," Gibbs said. "That's a really good baseball team over there and we're real fortunate to come out of here with a win. This is a tough place to win."
Harper took the loss on the mound, throwing all seven innings and allowing three runs off six hits. He struck out four and walked four.
"I thought Drew threw really well," Scheeter said. "He needs to get a little more consistent. He was steadily high today, but he would get himself out of jams. I was real pleased with the way he battled. He only gave up three runs against a quality team like Farmington."
Sikeston had one last chance at a possible comeback in the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and second and the potential winning run at the plate, but Warren was able to record a swinging strikeout on full count to end the game.
Scheeter is hoping the loss doesn't come back to haunt his team when district seedings take place.
"Our district is seven teams and it's going to make a big deal if you can get the No. 1 seed because you wouldn't have to play a first round game," Scheeter said. "And now that just makes it even tougher on us because we only play four of the six teams in the district. Hopefully we can bounce back and get quality wins next week. We can't sit back and lick our wounds, we've got to get right back after it."
Sikeston will play at Dexter on Monday at 4 p.m.
Farmington 100 101 0 -- 3 5 2
Sikeston 001 000 0 -- 1 3 1
WP -- Doug Warren. LP -- Drew Harper. Multiple hitters -- (F) Doug Warren 2-3. 2B -- (F) Alex Pinkson; (S) Cord Sheehy.