Last weekend the Mexico varsity baseball team did play all three of its scheduled contests, which is far from easy to do this time of year, but the squad also lost all three of those games, so new head coach Brandon Schafer was conflicted about those initial results and definitely had his sights set higher.
For he and his staff their first chance to get better as a group came on Monday when the Bulldogs traveled to Hallsville for a non-league game that went scoreless for the initial five innings prior to Mexico sneaking in a run on the Indians in the sixth to edge out a 1-0 victory.
"We knew going into the game that Hallsville was a tough squad that placed fourth in Class 3 last year. They brought back a lot of those starters, and we had to face their ace, Parnell," said Schafer. "He was hitting his spots and had us off balance all night. Luckily, we had our own ace up our sleeve in Ty Prince, who threw six and two-third innings of two-hit shutout baseball. Ty benefited from some nice defensive plays from Cole Whalen at third and Taylor Bledsoe in centerfield."
Even though pitching was king in this game and both squads made just a single error, one difference at the plate came when Prince helped his own cause by going 1-for 3 with a run. Cole Whalen was also the only player on either side of this early-season tune-up to clock multiple hits by going 2-for-3 and designated hitter Cameron Rowe was the only hitter to have a bigger night than that by coming in at 1-for-3 with one RBI, as well as two runners left on base, so who knows what might've been.
"Offensively, we are still looking for guys in the bottom of the order to contribute. We had 10 strikeouts last night, which is way too many," Schafer said. "We showed over the weekend we can put the ball in play and avoid the strikeouts. We have to get back to being fundamentally sound and staying focused with our approach at the plate."
If it's true that it takes a village, then the Bulldogs other contributors included Jesse Fennewald giving up no hits in a third of an inning on the mound.
Mexico, 1-3 overall, 0-0 North Central Missouri Conference, next played at Marshall on Mar. 19 to open league play and on Friday the team has its initial home game against NCMC rival Moberly.
"Both of these teams bring back solid teams, which means we must find ways to score more runs," said Schafer.