(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Trying to rebound from a tough one-run loss to Perryville the day prior, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs surrendered six runs in the third inning to visiting Farmington on Wednesday as they fell 11-5.
"I think we were more focused than we were the night before," Sikeston head coach Tiffany Morgan said. "When a team hits that well it's kind of hard to get in a groove. I thought our girls stayed in and battled well.
"It's just when you give up that many hits there's not much you can do. Your defense and offense can only do so much."
Trailing 2-0 after two innings of play, Sikeston watched the Knightettes' bats light up in the third as Kaila Nash doubled in the first two runs of the frame. Two more runs scored on a triple by Brittany Link and Whitney Holmes made it 8-0 with a two-run single that capped the rally.
By the end of the inning, the Knightettes collected six hits and a walk as they batted around in the order.
"That's a big inning," Farmington head coach Brett Hale said. "Anytime you can put up a big number, not only does it get you going, but it deflates the other team a little bit.
"That what's we play for, to have innings like that. I was real proud of that one."
After stranding four base runners through the first three innings, Sikeston finally got on the board in the fourth when Kristen Baker sent a bloop to right field to drive in Maggie Sheperd in from second base.
Though they still trailed by seven and looked to be out of contention, the Lady Bulldogs found some life in the fifth when Sydney King opened up a four-run rally by singling in Madison Chaney.
Taking advantage of a couple of Farmington errors, Sikeston went on to load the bases before a grounder to third base looked to have ended their rally early.
With Annie Ramey hustling to first after she placed the ball in play, however, the Lady Knights' third baseman overthrew first base, sending the ball to the fence. Before Farmington could recover, the base paths had cleared and Ramey was at third as the Lady Bulldogs closed the gap to 8-5.
"They battled back," Morgan said of the rally. "We talked about all last night just battling back and not giving up and not letting down. They showed heart tonight by fighting back.
"I'll take that battle as they battle along. It's going to be a learning process and the girls are getting there."
Unfortunately for Sikeston, after two scoreless innings, Farmington's offense roared back to life as they added three insurance runs in the sixth to make up the 11-5 final. A walk and a base hit started the inning before Olivia Seibert and Hannah Higat grounded in runs.
The Knightettes' final runs came in on a double to left field by Link.
Earning the win was Nash, who went all seven innings allowing nine hits and no walks while striking out eight. She allowed all five runs, only two earned as the Knightettes committed four errors.
"Kayla does a good job of not letting errors bother her," Hale said. "She's a sophomore now and started with us last year as a freshman. Last year she would have gotten a little rattled and I think that's part of her maturing.
"She just keeps battling out there. That's hard to do and I commend her for that."
Leading Farmington's attack was Link who went 3 for 4 with a triple, double and three runs batted in. Randi Scruggs and Seibert had two hits each with Seibert hitting a triple driving in two runs.
Guiding the Lady Bulldog's nine-hit effort was leadoff hitter Chaney. Chaney went 3 for 4 with a run scored.
Sikeston left a total of seven runners on base, including missing out on golden opportunities in the second and third. In both innings the Lady Bulldogs put runners on first and second with no outs.
Missed bunts and a total of five strikeouts in the two frames left Sikeston still facing an eight-run deficit at the time.
"We can't leave those base runners on," Morgan said. "When you get your first and second batters on you have to move them around. It's the little things like bunting, you have to get the bunts down.
"If we move those runners around and get those bunts down it could have been a totally different ball game."
With the loss Sikeston falls to 2-2 on the season while Farmington moves to 6-2. The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action today as part of Notre Dame Softballfest.
They'll open up their part of pool play in Kelso against Kelly at 5:30 p.m. before playing Scott City directly after.
Farmington 206 003 0 - 11
Sikeston 000 140 0 - 5
WP -- Kaila Nash. LP -- Madison Smith. Multiple hitters: (F) Randi Scruggs 2-3, Olivia Seibert 2-3, Brittany Link 3-4; (S) Madison Chaney 3-4. 2B -- (K) Kaila Nash, Link. 3B -- Seibert, Link.