Extra-inning baseball games are somewhat akin to marathons in that both take great endurance.
That may seem like a stretch to some, but to others, like the Mexico varsity baseball team, after playing 13 innings against second-seeded Hannibal, 8-14 overall, in Class 4, District 8, at Winfield on Tuesday that analogy probably seems completely apropos.
The Bulldogs, powered by their 11 hits that included Zach Watkins going 2-for-4 with a walk and Ty Prince charting two hits, one RBI and a walk in five at-bats, took a 2-0 lead in the third inning of this game. The Pirates were able to tie things up in the sixth, and thanks to players such as Cameron Rowe Mexico did enjoy a short-lived 3-2 advantage in the top of the seventh, but once the bottom of the inning came back around the score was deadlocked once again at 3-3.
Despite individuals like Gage Worley going 1-for-4 with a walk for the Bulldogs, that's exactly how the score would stay until the bottom of the 13th inning when Hannibal finally was able to send one more run across the plate to claim this game and eliminate sixth-seeded Mexico 4-3.
"This game epitomized our year as a baseball team. We jumped out to a lead and our pitching and defense kept us in the game," said coach Brandon Schafer. "Unfortunately, things didn't work out the way we planned in the seventh, and Hannibal was able to tie it at 3-3. I was extremely proud of the way our guys handled the adversity and continued to battle for the next six innings."
Among those handling the pitching duties in this contest for the Bulldogs, 10-14 overall, was Baylee Dukes, who threw for six and a third innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits and eight walks with five strikeouts. Cole Whalen also spent five and two third innings on the mound and gave up one earned run on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
"This team showed that they can be resilient and these seniors will move on from baseball and be successful at whatever they decide to do," Schafer said. "Our underclassmen continue to improve and contribute to the Mexico Baseball Program for many years to come. I was lucky that I was given the opportunity to coach this group of young men and work with Coach (Dion) Nunnelly and Coach (Daniel) McCarty. It was truly a blessing."
In the other district semi-final on Tuesday fifth-seed and host Winfield, 9-13 overall, was defeated by top-seeded St. Dominic, 18-8 overall, 6-2. Hannibal and St. Dominic will now play for the championship on Friday at 4:00 p.m.