Sikeston rallies for 2-1 win over Notre Dame

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Notre Dame's Abe Dirnberger stole second base after avoiding the tag by Sikeston's Austin Williams during their game Monday in Sikeston. (David Jenkins ~ Sikeston Standard Democrat)

Sikeston clinched at least a share of the SEMO Conference title.

The Sikeston Bulldogs clinched at least a share of the SEMO Conference regular-season championship as they defeated Notre Dame 2-1 on Monday at VFW Stadium.

The game was originally scheduled for March 20 but inclement weather resulted in the contest continually getting pushed back.

Sikeston (16-6) rallied from a 1-0 deficit and won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when Josh Jackson led off with a double. He scored the game-winning run when Nick Lambert drove an 0-2 curveball into left-center field.

"We didn't hit a lot of balls hard, but those were a couple hard-hit balls to win it," Sikeston coach Kevin Self said. "I think the pressure was off a little bit once Josh doubled because we had a guy at second with nobody out. ... Nick didn't get the bunt down, but he got a pitch to hit when Drury made a mistake. He threw an 0-2 pitch, hung a breaking ball and Nick just drove it."

Notre Dame's Abe Dirnberger stole second base after avoiding the tag by Sikeston's Austin Williams during their game Monday in Sikeston. (David Jenkins ~ Sikeston Standard Democrat)

Notre Dame, which defeated Sikeston 3-2 in a game that didn't count toward conference standings two weeks ago, got a strong performance on the mound from sophomore Dylan Drury, but it was Sikeston's Jerod Scott who proved to be unhittable in a relief role.

"He threw extremely well," Self said of Scott. "His changeup was good today. His breaking ball was sharp today. His fastball had good pop. He had more pop on his fastball than I've seen in a while."

Scott relieved starter Joey Williams in the third inning. Scott allowed just one base runner, who reached after striking out when the ball got away from the catcher. Other than that, he was perfect, striking out nine of the 15 batters he faced.

"He's probably their No. 1 pitcher," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "He did a tremendous job of keeping them in the ballgame and giving them an opportunity to win. We're going to have to make some adjustments to hit him. He threw his curveball and fastball for strikes and he kept our hitters off-balance."

Notre Dame struck first in the top of the third inning when Drury hit a long fly ball to right- center field. Jackson, Sikeston's center fielder, was able to get a glove on the ball as he reached the hill, but couldn't secure the ball as it dropped, allowing Abe Dirnberger to score.

Williams then walked the next batter to load the bases, forcing Self to make the switch to Scott, who got out of the jam with a strikeout and a pop out.

"Joey just didn't have his best stuff today," Self said. "The reason I took him out is because he was behind every hitter. He was 2-0, 2-1 on every hitter and they were fixing to start teeing off. They missed some pitches. He didn't have it and I couldn't wait because basically the conference championship's on the line. Jerod was available and he came in and really shut them down."

Drury stayed in and out of trouble for most of the game, but the Sikeston defense was solid behind him with no errors.

"He walked several guys early and we had opportunities but we just never could get a hit," Self said. "We had stolen bases and had guys at second with one out but we couldn't get it done."

Sikeston finally broke through to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth on Seth Baker's single.

Drury threw six-plus innings to take the loss. He allowed two runs off seven hits with four strikeouts and five walks.

"I thought that was the best baseball Dylan Drury has thrown all year for us," Graviett said. "He is capable of pitching like this every day. He has a tendency to work behind hitters, but today he got ahead of them. He probably ran out of gas at the end, but I wanted to push him.

"He's a sophomore and I wanted to see what he could bring to us in the seventh inning. We came on the short side of it, but I thought we played a pretty good game."

Dirnberger went 2-for-4 with a run and a stolen base for Notre Dame. Drury had the team's only other hit.

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WP -- Jerod Scott. LP -- Dylan Drury. 2B -- Josh Jackson (S). Nick Lambert (S). Multiple hitters -- Notre Dame, Dirnberger 2-4; Sikeston, Jackson 2-3. Records -- Sikeston 16-6, Notre Dame 11-9.

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