(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
JACKSON -- One day after storming home plate in walk-off fashion, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs were in a more somber mood as they exited the field for the last time in the 2012 season.
Up against the top-seeded Farmington Knightettes in the semifinals of the Class 4, District 1 tournament, the Lady Bulldogs surrendered six unanswered runs in the final two innings as the Knightettes rolled to a 10-3 win Thursday.
"We just weren't on top of our game today," Sikeston head coach Tiffany Morgan said. "It seems like once we get down we have a hard time battling back. With a hitting team like Farmington you have to stay on top of them."
After two quiet innings by the Knightettes to start the game, the Lady Bulldogs suddenly found themselves in a hole when Farmington took advantage of three hits and a walk to put together a four-run rally in the bottom of the third.
Still trailing by four as they opened the top of the fifth, Sikeston finally found some offense after only collecting three hits through the first four innings.
No. 7 hitter, Madison Smith, drew a walk to start the frame and, a couple at-bats later, Madison Chaney put a pair of runners on with an infield single.
The Lady Bulldogs were able to finally get on the board when Farmington's shortstop overthrew on a single by Maggie Shepherd, allowing runner Myca Martin to score.
In the next at-bat, senior Bayleah James hit a blooper to shallow left field that cleared the bases and closed Sikeston's deficit to a run at 4-3.
"They stayed up and stayed focus," Morgan said of her team. "We came back up again and I think it was the bottom of the order that started it out again.
"We got that little three-run rally and it looked like we were back in to the game."
Unfortunately for the Lady Bulldogs things took a turn for the worse soon after when the Knightettes responded with the first of back-to-back three run rallies. With four hits in the bottom of the fifth frame, Farmington got RBI singles from Hannah Hight, Jordan Martin and Rebecca Sutherland.
Another run scored on an error in the bottom of the sixth and it wasn't long after that Martin plated another two runs with a double to give the Knightettes a seven-run advantage.
"Sikeston did a great job of staying in it and battling back," Farmington head coach Brett Hale said. "To get those insurance runs, it sure makes those plays at the end a lot easier when they're not as much pressure on them.
"We're the kind of team where that's kind of what we have to do to win. We're going to give up some runs here and there. We've won a lot of games with offense this year."
Unlike the afternoon before, there would be no late-inning magic for the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs this time around.
In their final two trips to the plate, the Lady Bulldogs only managed to put one runner on the base paths.
Up for the final time in the top of the seventh, Sikeston was sent down in order by Knightettes starting pitcher Kaila Nash to advance her team to the championship game against Cape Central.
Sikeston was outhit by Farmington 12-6, including five doubles by the Knightettes. Leading Farmington was Sutherland with a 3 for 3 performance while Hight and Martin each had two hits.
For Sikeston, leadoff hitter Madison Chaney put on a strong showing in her final game as a Lady Bulldog. She went 2 for 4 on the day with a run scored and finished the district tournament a combined 5 for 9.
Others contributing included Hanna Placek, Annie Ramey and Shepherd with singles while James had the above mentioned double.
Sikeston finishes the season with an 11-10 record.
"Overall it was a successful season, a winning season," Morgan said, while adding this would be her last as head coach. "It was up and down at the beginning of the year, but they really stepped up and showed their heart."
Sikeston 000 030 0 - 3
Farmington 004 033 x - 10
WP -- Kaila Nash. LP -- Paige Sailors. Multiple hitters: (S) Madison Chaney 2-4; (F) Hannah Hight 2-3, Jordan Martin 2-4, Rebecca Sutherland 3-3. 2B -- (S) Bayleah James; (F) Kaila Nash, B. Link, Hight, Martin, Sutherland.