(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs have shown to be a powerful offensive team at times this season.
Despite struggling on offense the past several games, the Bulldogs broke out of the slump in a big way on Friday afternoon with a 16-6 victory over South Pemiscot in five innings at VFW Stadium.
It's the most runs the Bulldogs have scored this season as they slugged two home runs and added a pair of doubles among their 10 hits.
"It was a good offensive performance for us," Sikeston coach Alan Scheeter said. "I think we hit the ball as well today as we've hit it in a really long time. We hit two balls out and we had a couple other extra base hits. The good thing about it was they came after walks. They'd give us free baserunners and we took advantage of it. So we're kind of turning the tide around just a little bit from what things have been the past couple weeks."
While Sikeston was sharp offensively, South Pemiscot did not help themselves as they committed seven errors and had 11 walks and one hit batter.
It proved to be too much to overcome for the visiting Bulldogs.
"I don't feel like we came prepared to play today," South Pemiscot coach Jason House said. "We have a small upper class and it's very crucial to have a good leader on a squad and I feel like that's what we're lacking right now. I would have been happy if we came up here and competed with them and gave them a good game. But the score shows that we didn't come to do that."
South Pemiscot (8-13) started the game well by taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off run-scoring singles by Logan Carter and David Perry.
Sikeston (12-8) answered emphatically with seven runs in the bottom half of the first.
The damage started with a throwing error by the pitcher that sent leadoff batter Luke Keefer all the way to third. After a groundout and a walk, Trent McMillan brought in Keefer with a sacrifice fly to get the Bulldogs on the board.
After two more walks to load the bases, Patrick Smith laced a two-out single up the middle to bring in two runs for a 3-2 Sikeston lead.
Clayton Driskill then followed with a three-run home run to left field to extend the lead to 6-2.
Driskill was seeing his first action in several games after returning from a national DECA conference.
"That was a huge," Scheeter said of Driskill's home run. "Clay just came in and got a good pitch that he could handle, he saw it and turned on it and hit it really well. It's very good to see him do that."
After another error kept the inning alive, Keefer had an RBI-double to left field to lead 7-2.
The Bulldogs put the game away in the second inning on a towering two-run homer to left field by McMillan. After three more walks to load the bases, Keefer singled in two more runs to lead 11-2.
South Pemiscot was able to slow the bleeding momentarily in the top of the third inning when Carter hit a two-run home run to left field to cut the lead to 11-4.
However, Sikeston responded with four more runs in the bottom of the third to lead 15-4.
Cord Sheehy had an RBI-single and Jacob Wilson had a two-run single during the inning.
"I don't like to ever use the term 'cruise control' because we've been up big in some games and we just kind of sat on it," Scheeter said. "That's something I want to get away from our guys. I want to just really stress that when you get a team down, you keep them down and you don't give them any reason to think that they can play with you. And today when they would come back and get a couple runs, we had an answer for it every single time. I think that is what separates your average teams from your really good teams."
South Pemiscot was able to briefly take the 10-run rule out of effect with two runs in the top of the fifth on a two-run double by Perry, making it 15-6.
Keefer's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth brought the margin back to 10 to clinch the victory for the Bulldogs.
South Pemiscot's Hunter Williams was the losing pitcher, failing to make it out of the first inning, although none of his seven runs allowed were earned.
"Sikeston did a pretty good job defensively and their pitcher shut us down pretty good," House said. "When you hit two home runs with runners on, that's pretty much the outcome of the game there."
McMillan was the winning pitcher for the Bulldogs, throwing four innings and allowing four runs off six hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Keefer threw the fifth inning in relief, giving up a pair of a runs with two strikeouts.
"For not having had action in as long as he has, I thought he threw really, really well," Scheeter said of McMillan. "He's a kid that's always going to have a high pitch count. We had a big lead when I took him out. It wasn't because he was tired or wasn't performing, but I thought it was time to get somebody else in there for an inning or so and keep him fresh in case we did have to use him next week."
McMillan also went 2-2 with three RBIs at the plate. Keefer went 2-4 with four RBIs. Wilson was 2-3 with two RBIs.
South Pemiscot's Carter went 3-3 with three RBIs. Perry was 2-3 with three RBIs.
Sikeston is scheduled to host Graves County (Ky.) on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
S. Pemiscot 202 02 -- 6 8 7
Sikeston 744 01 -- 16 10 1
WP -- Trent McMillan. LP -- Hunter Williams. Multiple hitters -- (SP) Logan Carter 3-3, David Perry 2-3, Blake White 2-2; (S) Luke Keefer 2-4, McMillan 2-2, Jacob Wilson 2-3. HR -- (SP) Carter; (S) Clayton Driskill, McMillan. 2B -- (SP) Carter; (S) Keefer, Wilson.