In a contest it literally prepared for all year long, the Mexico varsity boys baseball team, after running the regular-season gauntlet that is the North Central Missouri Conference, took the diamond Monday to play Eastern Missouri Conference member Wright City in Class 4, District 8, competition at Winfield.

If it's true that big players come to play in big games than it's no coincidence that Ty Prince lived up to his name when his team needed him most because in five innings on the mound he didn't allow any runs on two hits and five walks with four strikeouts. Because the Bulldogs only made one error, that also let Zach Watkins focus on just the game, and the end result was he also didn't give up any runs on two hits with five strikeouts.

With that half of the game in tow Mexico, 10-13 overall, just had to worry about getting on the scoreboard. The complication with that equation was that the Wildcats pitcher went the distance and allowed just five hits for the game while the defense behind him made no mistakes. Fortunately, the Bulldogs got performances that included Cameron Rowe and Prince both going 1-for-3, which was just one small part of this squad coming together to pull this game out with a fifth-inning score 1-0.

"Coach (Dion) Nunnelly and Coach (Daniel) McCarty had a solid game plan for today and the guys came out and executed. Prince and Watkins were able to throw strikes and frustrate Wright City," said head coach Brandon Schafer. "Brett Wilson was solid behind the plate, throwing out two runners. We struggled to get runners on against, but Jesse Fennewald was able to knock in the lone RBI with two outs. As a team, we're working together to play solid defense and do our job at the plate."

Because Tucker Dobyns also went 1-for-1 and Jesse Fennewald was 2-for-2 with one RBI, sixth-seed Mexico's next step was to go head-to-head with second-seeded league-rival Hannibal, 7-14 overall, on Tuesday. The other first round game in this district consisted of number-four Warrenton, 9-13 overall, losing to host number-five Winfield, 9-12 overall, 9-1 on Monday. The Warriors then played top-seed St. Dominic, 18-8 overall, Tuesday. The championship will be decided Thursday at 4:00 p.m.