The last time the Mexico varsity baseball team, 5-16 overall, hosted North Central Missouri Conference rival Moberly, 7-8 overall, it was on Senior Night on Monday and they were horrible guests that waited until the top of the seventh inning to ruin everything.
Now in the first round of Class 4, District 4, on Saturday at Boonville the rematch is set for noon, and even if the stakes are just a little bit higher, the Bulldogs are due for a victory and head coach Keith Louder knows exactly why that is.
"We've played Moberly three times this season. Once at home, once away and once at a neutral site and lost all three times, 13-3, 16-8 and 8-5," said Louder. "We continue to hit the ball well enough to win games. We have to finish games if we want to have success in the playoffs. We have played a total of 11 games against teams in the district and have led in nine of the 11 games at some point."
The winner of this contest will advance to play host Boonville on May 14 at 4 p.m. On the other side of the brackets Marshal, 15-6 overall, begins the playoffs on May 12 at noon against Fulton, 3-17 overall, for the right to face Kirksville, 12-12 overall, on May 14 at 6 p.m.
"Boonville is the team to beat. They have a record of 18-1 overall and are ranked in the top five in the state," Louder said.
Mexico's greatest strength this season has been its' flexibility. This allows the team to make late game substitutions that have kept it in close contest without then being force to play athletes out of position or keep players in games who don't have the speed or skill to execute what can be an ever-changing strategy.
"We have started 17 different players over the course of the season. That 17 includes six seniors, five Juniors, five Sophomores and one freshman. Our strength is depth," said Louder. "If a player is not having a good game, we can make a substitution and have another quality player on the field. We have quality pinch hitters on the bench and base runners that allow us to improve the speed on the bases."
The championship of this district is scheduled for May 16 at 5 p.m.