On the one hand Mexico varsity baseball head coach Keith Louder should be proud of how he and his staff handled all the young talent they had to nurture this season in the wake of a large senior class in 2016.
The flip side to all of that is the Bulldogs won just one of 18 games during the regular season and went 1-11 in the North Central Missouri Conference, meaning the final take for this program on 2017 is one of contemplation as opposed to celebration.
"We knew going in this could be a challenging year. We would have hoped for a few more wins along the way," said Keith Louder. "Not many highlights, other than we maintained a good work ethic and attitude. The team continued to develop as the season progressed. I was disappointed in our defense. We made more errors than I expected."
Another hope the Bulldogs had this year was that they might rise up and spite their oppressors once the postseason came around. The fervor for that goal eventually dipped, though, as Mexico was eliminated at Marshall on May 13 from class 4, district 8, by Fulton 10-6.
"We were a better hitting team than I expected at the start of the season. Again, defense wasn't what I thought it could have been," Keith Louder said. "Last year we had 13 seniors. We only returned two letter winners and only one of those was a situational starter."
What will eventually make this season a success is if the experienced gained during this campaign pays dividends on the field in the near future. Fortunately for Keith Louder, he has assistant coaches Dion Nunnely and Kyle Louder to help him make this turn from the bottom to the top of the NCMC standings.
"For 2018 we will return the entire team we finished the season with. In grades nine through 11 in 2017 we had 37 players," said Keith Louder. "This means we return varsity experience and young players that can compete for playing time. We must improve, but we definitely have the foundation to build on."