Having just defeating Silex, 9-2 overall, in Eastern Missouri Conference action, the Wellsville-Middletown varsity baseball team, 10-7 oevrall, 6-3 EMO, appears to be the favorite heading into Class 1, District 12, at Community R-6.
Last season the Tigers made it all the way to the Class 1 title game and this year the squad starts districts North Shelby, 7-4 overall, on May 14 at 6:45 p.m.
"After losing our initial four games, the team went 10-3. The district is tough. We go with the approach that every team we play is a good team," said coach Earl Burton. "We play North Shelby. We have not played each other. I really don’t know a lot except they are a solid team. We have to go play our game. We start playing each other next year. We are playing solid baseball right now. The team is full of hard workers, that give the coaches their best effort."
One of the adjustments Wellsville-Middletown wanted to make at the start of this season was expanding its pitching staff beyond just Ben Burton and Ethan Burton. The Tigers also had to replace what they lost to graduation, all of which took patience and time. Well, four games to be exact.
"We have two freshmen who have strarted all season. Clayton Ebers at second base and left fielder Dylan Cornelius. Both fit our team of grinders. They both are good defensively and bring solid bats. We also start a Sophmore, Alex Stewart, center field," Earl Burton said. "So the team to beat is the team sitting in the other dugout. We can’t look ahead in high school baseball. You only get one chance to make the most of it. Any team can win, any night. You have to play today to get to tomorrow."
The rest of the brackets are highlighted by host Community R-6, 1-13 overall, 0-9 EMO, opening the playoffs on May 11 at 5 p.m. against Madison, 9-2 overall. The winner of that game then play the Silex Owls on May 14 at 5 p.m. in the semifinals and the finals are scheduled for May 15 at 6 p.m.
"Silex and Wellsville have the best records in the district. Wellsville just beat Silex by one run. We played Madison in April and lost 2 - 0 in a really tight game at Madison," said Trojan coach David Matthews. "We're moving runners along the bases, but not bringing them home. We need to get hard line drives into the gaps. No one has been injured. One guy missed a game to illness. Two missed a games due grade checks, but we get them back Thursday. No one has moved up. We have 14 players."