Sikeston avenges loss to ND

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

SIKESTON, Mo. -- With the way Tuesday's season opening game was going for Sikeston's highly touted baseball team, it seemed the Bulldogs were picking up where they left off last season in the district tournament.

Notre Dame, which stunned Sikeston in the district a year ago, was in total control Tuesday for most of the game.

But Sikeston, ranked No. 2 in Class 3, flexed its muscles in the fifth and sixth innings for eight runs to rally to a 10-5 victory at VFW Stadium.

"All this other hype and all this stuff that goes around off the field doesn't matter," said Sikeston coach Kevin Self. "You've got to play the game. You've got to play it on the field.

"Notre Dame is a quality ballclub. They are solid in every aspect."

Notre Dame (1-1, 1-1 SEMO Conference) jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and led 5-0 heading into the bottom of the third.

Sikeston (1-0, 1-0 SEMO), which stranded the bases loaded four different times in the game, finally broke the ice in the bottom of the third, cutting the lead to 5-2.

Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett was concerned even before the offensive explosion.

"We jumped up on them early but they're such a great ballclub with veteran senior kids -- they're not going to fold up," said Graviett. "I think what today shows is they're so deadly with their bats. When they get ahead a little bit they smell the kill, and that's what I saw last year. You really have to stay in front of them if you're going to compete or beat them."

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