The good news this Monday when it takes the diamond at 4:30 p.m. in Class 1 Sectional competition is that the Wellsville-Middletown varsity baseball team, 12-4 overall, will be hosting Concordia, 17-4 overall.
The bad news is the Fighting Orioles started this season with either a five or eight game win-streak depending on whether or not they won or lost the sixth game of the season, which went unreported on maxpreps.com. Concordia had several late season victories that allowed it to roll strong into the postseason, as well. This included back-to-back home games that started by mercying Crest Ridge at home 10-0 on April 23 that was followed by edging out Lone Jack 4-2.
The Fighting Orioles also slipped past Windsor 3-2 on May 6 and are currently ranked 186th in the state.
One reason this should be quite an even match-up is that the Tigers are ranked 189th in Missouri. There are several reasons they should be able to separate themselves from Concordia and continue advancing through the playoffs, though, all of which were exhibited in their back-to-back wins over Van-Far 10-0 on and CR-6 14-1 on April 11 and 12. The formula may appear somewhat singular from the outside, but Ben Burton's multiple talents on the mound and in the infield do get assistance from time to time.
That would include the arm of Jacob Ussery and the everything else of Isaac Ussery and the displays of both offense and lack-there-of they helped create when the Tigers dismantled Bowling Green 6-5 and Mark Twain 12-7 April 25 and 27 at home.
Ethan Burton was also quite key both on the mound and in the field for much of the season, including May 6 during a 4-1 win for Wellsville-Middletown, as well as April 10 when the squad won 16-12 in Eastern Missouri Conference action at North Callaway. Upperclassmen Kollin McCoy and Rodger Yeldon and underclassman Wyatt Cassidy are also hoping to get their chance to contribute, and if that opportunity doesn't happen in this contest this trio will be just as anxious later as they are now.
The winner of this game will play whichever team is left standing on Monday after St. Elizabeth, 14-4 overall, and Northwest (Hughesville), 17-6 overall, square off at Hughesville in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at a location and time to be determined.