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Monday, Apr. 24, 2017

SD: 2017 Sikeston Bulldogs baseball preview

Saturday, March 18, 2017

(Photo)
New Sikeston baseball coach Brett Kolons throws batting practice during practice on Thursday, March 9, 2017, at VFW Memorial Stadium. The baseball team opens their season March 20 when they travel to New Madrid County Central.
(David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)
Coach: Brett Kolons

2016 record: 15-9

Starters lost: 2

Returning starters: 8

Assignment: Class 4, District 1

Notes: After a small head coaching whirlwind within the last year, the Sikeston baseball team is now settled and secure with a longtime assistant.

Brett Kolons will take over the Sikeston Bulldogs after six seasons as an assistant. Kolons was chosen to lead the team after a recent shakeup with current basketball coach Gregg Holifield, who accepted the position in July of last year but resigned from his baseball duties Feb. 10.

"In the summer when you're in the offseason you want to do it for the kids and help them so much, but as the basketball season goes on, I just felt like the players needed a coach that would be there with them all the time," Holifield said, in a Feb. 10 story.

(Photo)
Sikeston's Bryce Bays throws the ball into the infield during practice on Thursday, March 9, 2017, at VFW Memorial Stadium. The baseball team opens their season March 20 when they travel to New Madrid County Central.
(David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)
This is Kolons' first head coaching position at the high school level. He's also coach a prospect team in St. Louis for the past six summers. He's been the first base coach for Sikeston under previous head coach Alan Scheeter, who resigned in June of last year.

"I'm real excited," Kolons said after accepting the position in early February. "I think we have some big things coming up this season so I'm real excited about it."

The Sikeston Bulldogs return eight upperclassmen from a 15-9 team last year and take the step down from Class 5 where they've spent the past two seasons.

The Bulldogs, who haven't won a district championship since 2007, rejoin Class 4, District 1 which now includes New Madrid County Central, Dexter, Fredericktown, Kennett, Perryville and old rival Notre Dame.

Sikeston lost its top pitcher and most feared hitter to graduation

Blake Wolferding, who signed with Central Methodist University, led the Bulldogs in RBIs (25), slugging percentage (.519), doubles (10) and had Sikeston's lone home run last season. He was also their starting catcher.

The Bulldogs return their leading hitter in Wyatt Pratt, who batted .376 with 15 RBI and 17 runs scored. Pratt, who's one of five seniors returning, led the team with 32 hits. Five were doubles and one was a triple.

Fellow senior Trey Smith returns after a .355 average and driving in 14 runs. The outfielder, who has already signed with Rend Lake College, led Sikeston with an on-base percentage of .510 as well.

Sam Cox, who has signed with Jefferson College, finished last season with a .250 batting average, 11 RBIs, 21 runs scored. The senior outfielder also had a team-high 11 stolen bases.

McKenzie Worth, another senior who has signed with John A. Logan College, returns with a .234 average and 12 RBIs.

"We will look to lean on our seniors," Kolons said. "Their experience and leadership will be invaluable to the rest of the team."

(Photo)
Sikeston's Nate Self throws a bullpen session during practice on Thursday, March 9, 2017, at VFW Memorial Stadium. The baseball team opens their season March 20 when they travel to New Madrid County Central.
(David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)
Bryce Bays and Will Pratt were productive as sophomores last season with identical .310 batting averages. Bays added 15 RBIs while Will Pratt added 10.

"We have a lot of returners who have an understanding of how well baseball is played in the SEMO area," said Kolons. "They have high expectations for themselves and their teammates."

Their top arm from last year, Trent Sidwell who signed with the University of Illinois-Springfield, ate up 57.2 innings with nine starts. He finished his senior year with a 4-2 record with two saves, 53 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.94.

Brandon Hurt pitched 34.1 innings -- the second-most behind Sidwell -- as a junior last year but is not listed on Sikeston's roster.

Looking to take over as the staff ace will be Will Gilmer. The junior pitched 26 innings last season for a 2-2 record in three starts. He struck out 19, walked eight and finished with a 2.42 ERA.

"We expect Will Gilmer to be one of the leaders of our staff," Kolons said. "He has a great mentality on the mound and battles every pitch."

The Bulldogs list seven pitchers on their roster and each one may be needed due to the new pitching count regulations.

The new pitch count rule that was adopted by the Missouri State High School Activities Association in December limits the number of pitches a player can throw based on grade and rest days.

Wyatt Pratt will be expected to see innings after pitching 27.2 of them last season with a record of 3-2, an ERA of 3.54 and 20 strikeouts.

Nate Self, a sophomore, pitched 14 innings last year with two starts. He finished 2-1 with 20 strikeouts and with an ERA of 4.50.

Will Pratt, Ben Ray, Smith and Worth are all listed as pitchers as well.

"We are extremely excited to get the season underway," Kolons said. "There have been a lot of upgrades to the VFW and it has really been appreciated by everyone. We've had quality practice time to work on specific areas and we as a coaching staff feel good about what these players can do on the field."

Roster

No.PlayerYr.Pos.
3Max AultSr.OF/C
4Ben RayJr.OF/P
5Will PrattJr.IF/P
8Wyatt PrattSr.IF/P
10Camden SappSr.IF/OF
11Trey SmithSr.OF/P
13Nate SelfSo.IF/P
14Sam CoxSr.IF/OF
16Will GilmerJr.IF/P
17Peyton KennardSr.IF/OF
18Noah HicksSo.IF/OF
20McKenzie WorthSr.IF/P
21Bryce BaysJr.IF/OF
22Josh StinnettSr.IF

Schedule

DateOpponentTime
M.20at NMCC4:30 p.m.
M.23at East Prairie4:30 p.m.
M.24Jackson4:30 p.m.
M.28Waukegan4:30 p.m.
M.30at Cape Central4 p.m.
A.1at Bell City12 p.m.
A.4Poplar Bluff4:30 p.m.
A.5Farmington4:30 p.m.
A.10Dexter4:30 p.m.
A.12Kennett4:30 p.m.
A.17at Marion, Ill.4:30 p.m.
A.18Charleston4:30 p.m.
A.21Graves Co. Tourn.TBA
A.25Notre Dame4:30 p.m.
A.26at Cooter4:30 p.m.
A.28SEMO Conference Tourn.TBA
M.3at Oran4:30 p.m.
M.4Meadow Heights4:30 p.m.
M.9East Carter County4:30 p.m.
M.10at North County4:30 p.m.