Bulls win home opener
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulls got back on the winning track in Thursday night's home opener at VFW Stadium, defeating Union City (Tenn.) 6-1.
The victory snaps a three-game losing streak by the Bulls, all by one run apiece.
Like they have done so far this year, pitching and defense came to the forefront for the team.
Sikeston (3-3) right-hander Todd Otto improved to 2-0 on the season with seven shutout innings. Although he didn't have his best stuff -- walking seven and striking out three -- he only allowed five hits while letting his defense do its thing.
"Our defense is really good -- I really appreciate everything that they do," said Otto. "They're really solid behind me. I couldn't find my mechanics tonight. I never could get my feel for the mound. But I did my best and tried to work through everything and just let the defense make plays."
The Bulls also brought the bats on Thursday, collecting 12 hits, 10 of which were singles.
"A hit's a hit -- you're not going to see too many home runs with wooden bats," said Sikeston coach Jamie Puckett. "We hit the ball a whole lot better. We cut down on our strikeouts. We've been striking out way too much. Today we put the ball in play a whole lot more and you saw what happened."
Sikeston took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning off back-to-back RBI-singles by Mason Mosby and Brett Miller.
The Bulls made it 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth on Robbie Hohler's RBI-
A two-run double in the sixth inning by Mosby brought in two more runs to make it 5-0.
The Bulls added one more insurance run in the eighth on an RBI-single by Derrick Washington.
"They put the ball in play and they hit some balls hard when they had runners in scoring position when they needed to do it," said Chris Leguenec. "That's the key to the game, getting those hits when runners are in scoring position."
Otto gave way to reliever Scott Hudgins in the eighth inning. The right-
hander from Searcy (Ark.) pitched the final two innings, allowing one run off two hits and two walks.
"Pitching has been there for us," said Puckett. "Todd came out and threw another great game for us tonight. He's been very impressive so far. Scott came in and shut the door, challenging batters. That's a great job."
Union City (3-3) had runners on base in every inning, stranding 14 runners.
"Our defense was there for us once again -- another game with no errors, you can't ask for anything else," said Puckett. "This is one of the best defenses that I've ever been a part of. Even the guys that come off the bench don't miss a beat. They come right in and start making plays. It gives our pitchers a whole lot of confidence. They can just throw it and let our defense work."
Mosby went 3-4 with three RBIs and two runs to lead the Bulls offense. Hohler was 3-4 with an RBI. Miller went 2-3 with an RBI.
Leadoff batter Derrick Washington reached base four times and was 2-3 with two runs and an RBI.
Sikeston native J.R. Bizzell went 1-5 with a run scored, but he made several solid plays at shortstop.
The Bulls will play Union City tonight at 7 p.m. Cape Central graduate Lance Young is expected to get the start.