Mexico falls 8-7 in 13-inning battle with Kirksville

By Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
Posted 3/29/23

Mexico needed an extra effort Tuesday night.

Mexico vs Kirksville Photo Gallery

The Bulldogs played extra innings at home in a game with extra stakes against North Central Missouri Conference …

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Mexico falls 8-7 in 13-inning battle with Kirksville


Mexico needed an extra effort Tuesday night.

Mexico vs Kirksville Photo Gallery

The Bulldogs played extra innings at home in a game with extra stakes against North Central Missouri Conference and district foe Kirksville. In the 13th inning and about three and a half hours later, Kirksville’s Jalen Kent drove in Drew Chrisman to defeat Mexico 8-7.

For head coach Daniel McCarty, he said Tuesday’s game was the longest game he has been involved with so there wasn’t any precedent for the Bulldogs. Considering that, McCarty said he thought some aspects of the Bulldogs’ game were lacking as the innings gradually increased.

“We came out firing the first four innings and tied it up in the seventh,” McCarty said. “Then we went flat for six innings. We couldn’t move runners over and our baserunning was lacking a little bit. Pitching kept us in the ballgame the whole time.”

The baserunning was one of Mexico’s stronger weapons against Kirksville (1-6, 1-2 NCMC) early as the Bulldogs (3-1, 2-1 NCMC) finished with eight stolen bases. With that looming threat, the Bulldogs were in the mind of Kirksville starter Jack Thomas and then the Tigers used some relievers.

Thomas was moved to behind the plate and eventually Drew Chrisman toed the rubber. Chrisman had a starter effort in relief as he went seven innings while striking out seven and allowing four hits, two walks and one run.

“They switched it up and put in a new guy catching-wise,” McCarty said. “It kind of slowed us down a little bit, and their pitchers did as well by holding the runners and checking runners.

“As the game went on, the pressure built up. Kids weren’t up there freely swinging and were up there being decisive and ensuring everything was good. So we just got tight. We’ve got to play loose all the time and play our game.”

Chrisman’s very first inning in the seventh was a do-or-die frame for the Bulldogs as Camden Dempsay had just crushed a two-RBI double to give Kirksville a 7-6 lead in the top of the inning. Chrisman was off to a good start by striking out the first two batters in Mexico’s heart of the order.

A couple of seniors then stepped up as Landyn Kleinsorge found the gap for a double prior to catcher Ty Sims lining a pitch up the middle to tie the game and set up extra innings. 

“That’s two seniors right there that've been preparing for this since their freshman year,” McCarty said. “That experience allowed them to get that point, I believe. At that point, they were confident at the plate.”

Mexico did own a 6-1 lead after the fourth inning. Andrew Runge drove in two runs on a single before Matt McCurdy used a hook slide to just reach his hand on the plate before the tag, making it 4-1. Kleinsorge had an RBI double prior to scoring on a passed ball for the 6-1 advantage in the third inning.

Starter Jack Wilburn’s day wrapped up in the sixth inning with a 6-3 lead in the sixth inning. Wilburn was taken out with two outs and posted a line of four strikeouts, three hits, three runs (two earned) and one walk. 

Kirksville scored four runs in the seventh inning thanks to a few walks, but Mexico had a chance to build more insurance before that. The Bulldogs had more potential runs on base in the earlier innings only for rallies to be stunted by three double plays. The first inning saw the first three Bulldogs reach base, for example, only for one run to cross on a double play.

“They made plays in some key situations,” McCarty said. “That kind of killed our inning a little bit.”

After he walked, Chrisman swiping second base in the 13th inning was another key play, which was a close call by the umpire. McCarty said he thought Sims’ throw beat the runner enough for him to be out, but the call stood as a stolen base that preceded Kent lining a single to center field to score Chrisman. 

“We shouldn't have had that runner on in the first place,” McCarty said. “If you walk somebody, it’s always going to get a run these days. It was a close judgment call.”

Mexico’s junior varsity lost 2-1 in three innings as all the offense happened in the third inning. The Tigers scored in the top of the inning before Cooper Rowe grounded out to score the Bulldogs’ run in the bottom half. Tyson Carr struck out three and allowed no hits or walks in two shutout innings.

Mexico is able to rest Wednesday before traveling for the first time this season to play conference foe Hannibal (3-5, 1-0 NCMC) at 5 p.m. Thursday. 


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