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From The Mean Streets Of Mound City | District

 

The KHSAA District playoffs. Missouri’s Class 1-thru-6 State Championship tournaments. Juco nationals. NCAA conference tourneys. The World Series of College Baseball in just over a week.  

Hot dog, that’s a lot to cover in a single column. Thankfully, your loyal correspondent has a lot of experience writing short copy…mostly out of a lazy dislike for writing long copy.

So without further ado, here are a few short updates which hopefully add up to a single big update on post-season action from the Ozark Mountains to the Bluegrass State.

Mean Streets apologizes for a mistake in last week’s edition, when a typo led some readers to believe Logan County and Franklin-Simpson shared a Region but not a District. Yes, the teams faced off in the 13th District this week, and the FSHS Wildcats exacted revenge for 2 regular-season losses with a 9-0 drubbing. Franklin-Simpson will now advance to the KHSAA Region 4 playoffs.

The Missouri Tigers were seeded a woeful 10th in the SEC Tournament, and Steve Bieser knew they must win the bracket to advance to the NCAA World Series. The Tigers got off to a roaring start in the 1st round, leading Texas A&M 11-7 in the 6th inning when thunderstorms brought the entire tournament to a standstill. The rain must have chilled any upset bid as Mizzou was soon embarrassed and eliminated by South Carolina.

Meanwhile, the Missouri State Bears have been stealing space in St. Louis newspapers. The 2017 Bears could have finished the regular season with their 23rd straight Missouri Valley Conference win, but lost to struggling Illinois State 8-4 after giving up a grand slam to Collin Braithwaite in the 1st inning. Today, the Bears will face the Redbirds for a 3rd time in 3 days in a rubber match at the MVC Tournament, in which a title would propel MSU to a decent seed in their first NCAA World Series since 2003.

The MSHSAA baseball playoffs continue to be more delightfully unpredictable than Missouri’s annual football and basketball brackets.

The most stunning development? Tiny, rural St. Vincent High School – after a losing regular season – beat the Valle Catholic Warriors 3-2, went on to win their District tournament, then triumphed 15-5 over Van-Far and 7-6 over South Pemiscot to advance to the Class 2 semifinals. The win over SPHS was a beauty, as the Varsity Indians were tied 6-6 with the Bulldogs before 3rd baseman Mitchell Dobbelare singled to center and drove in the winning run.

Meanwhile Lutheran North (a Class 3 program closer to St. Louis) won only a handful of contests all year, but scored 47 runs in 3 games to romp through District 5. Unfortunately, the Crusaders then ran into Valley Park – those kids from the Meramec who use plutonium bats. The Hawks coasted easily with 2nd baseman Justin Maloney scoring runs in each of the first 4 innings.

Valley Park went on to clobber Portageville 15-3 in the quarterfinals and will meet West County next week for the right to play for a 3A State Championship.

Elsewhere in MSHSAA ball, Westminster Christian advanced smoothly with a 7-1 win over Clayton High School, then beat Winfield by 10 runs to get to the final four in 4A. Highly-ranked Jefferson City is dealing efficiently with a rough draw in the Class 5 tournament, getting past Willard High in the 1st Round before besting Kickapoo 8-2 in another anxious match-up.

Cape Girardeau Central’s season ended with a tough 5-2 loss to Hillsboro High in the Class 5 District quarterfinals. Don’t worry, the Tigers and their stylin’ and profilin’ YouTube hero will be back.

Congratulations to Crowder College (MO) for making the 2017 Juco World Series. Check out an NJCAA contest if you have the chance – the rosters are as strong as many NCAA D1 teams, and often practice against 4-year universities in the preseason.

Back in old Kentucky, Hickman County has defeated Ian Fry and the Mean Streets-favored Carlisle County Comets to become 1st District champions. We promise not to hex any more schools by predicting gold in the post-season – and we’ll see you in ’18, Comets.

What makes McCracken County such a frightening baseball club is not just power, skill, or a habit of bringing hatchets to photo shoots (though that is indeed pretty scary). The Mustangs are calm and comfortable in pitchers’ duels, but can also score runs in bunches to put away a talented rival – as in McCracken’s 11-3 lumber-laying on Paducah Tilghman in the 2nd District Championship earlier this week.

A single-elimination baseball tournament can seem like a crap-shoot at a glance. After all, anything can happen in a single game. But the KSHAA playoffs are a test to find out which club can go undefeated for the rest of May and June against opponents of all stripes and styles. It’s not enough to be good – Kentucky’s champions must also be dynamic.

 

by Mickey Mounds

Contributor, covering Missouri’s Bootheel and St Louis

 

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