MEXICO ROUNDUP: Bulldogs regain focus, close out Marshall in 35-14 win

By Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
Posted 9/21/22

Mexico was confident Friday’s game against Marshall would be a victory but ultimately weren’t overconfident.

After shooting ahead 20-0 at halftime, the Bulldogs closed out North …

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MEXICO ROUNDUP: Bulldogs regain focus, close out Marshall in 35-14 win

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Mexico was confident Friday’s game against Marshall would be a victory but ultimately weren’t overconfident.

After shooting ahead 20-0 at halftime, the Bulldogs closed out North Central Missouri Conference foe Marshall 35-0 for the third straight year behind a solid running attack and defense. Mexico had touchdowns from Andrew Runge, Anthony Shivers, Matthew McCurdy and quarterback Ty Sims — with McCurdy’s coming on a 20-yard pass from Sims.

Mexico gained 214 yards on 31 carries, led by 96 yards on six carries by Shivers, 58 yards on eight keepers by Sims and 50 yards on seven attempts by Runge. Marshall had two receivers finish north of 100 yards receiving thanks to 290 yards on 19-of-26 passing from Jaxson Case: 153 yards on 11 catches by Christian Tatum and 131 yards and a touchdown on seven catches by Stephen Caviness.

Head coach Steve Haag said there was a time in the second half Mexico fell off after moving the ball exactly the way it wanted to in the option offense.

“I thought we were able to do what we wanted to do offensively,” Haag said. “I thought we lost a little bit of focus. We had a penalty, then we have another penalty, then a sack. It just seems like we just mentally didn’t finish strong that first half.

“I think our kids knew we were better than Marshall, and we had a little bit of a hangover from Odessa. It was a tough game – our guys played all four quarters. Now it’s like, ‘We’re winning this one fairly easy.’ We let off a little bit.”

Runge and McCurdy gave Mexico a three-possession lead before halftime, with the third touchdown coming from a sack and fumble return from McCurdy. The Bulldogs “came out strong” the second half on a 66-yard touchdown run from Shivers on the first play from scrimmage and then a score from Sims.

Marshall scored both of its touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Owls hit long passes – one setting up a score and another going in the endzone from 70 yards out – while Mexico was breaking in some less experienced Bulldogs off the bench.

“We took care of business up front,” Haag said. “Our backs got yards. Ty did a good job reading the option and spreading it out to them. Overall, it was a good performance, but we got to play better.”

Mexico (2-2, 1-0 NCMC) travels to Class 4 No. 10 Hannibal (2-2, 1-0 NCMC) after the Pirates won 48-0 at Fulton in Week 4.

Softball

Mexico defense support early offense in 7-0 win vs Winfield

Mexico needed this victory.

The Lady Bulldogs hosted district opponent Winfield on Saturday morning, winning 7-0, in their first game since the 10-0 loss Thursday at district and North Central Missouri Conference rival Fulton. Kierstan Epperson had two doubles and an RBI, Maddy Feger finished with two hits and an RBI and freshman Hannah Loyd hit her third career home run.

Head coach Curt Riley said the team looked completely different from the Fulton game as Mexico appeared ready to go from the first pitch. The Lady Bulldogs had the defense to back up pitcher Emma Cunningham — who had four hits, three strikeouts and one walk in seven innings — and they hope the victory ends up earning them a higher postseason seed as their record moves to 2-1 against district foes.

“Defensively, that’s as good as we’ve played,” Riley said. “I just felt like we were ready to go this morning, and we have to be.”

Jo Thurman was unavailable Saturday so that is one glove Mexico didn’t have in the outfield, but the team consistently ran down balls. Brooke Teel reached out to snag a ball down the right field line, trapping the ball in the fingers of her glove. Feger in left field and Lexie Willer in center field also made several catches and even some almost catches.

“(Teel’s catch) was awesome,” Riley said. “We barely missed a great catch by Maddy out in left field. She hit a gulley out there and stepped down, and it kind of threw off a little bit. The kids were wanting the ball hit to them to make plays. I think that’s when you start making really good strides, and we did that today.”

Mexico had a 4-0 lead by the time Teel locked down right field to end the third inning as Kenley Jones scored the Lady Bulldogs’ first run in the second inning. Jones singled but took second base when Winfield took too long to get the ball back in the infield. She scored on an error before Feger brought another home with a single.

The Lady Bulldogs added to their lead in two of the next three innings, which became a lead initially after Loyd’s two-RBI home run with two outs. Winfield pitcher Camile Schulte struck out the side, catching two looking, but couldn’t get one pitch into the catcher’s mitt. Mexico has a record of 7-1 in games in which it has a home run following Loyd tying Bellamy for the team lead with her fourth home run in a 7-6 home win Monday against Marshall.

“Hannah’s playing so well right now — behind the plate, hitting,” Riley said. “I messed with the batting order and moved her up to fourth. Putting the freshman in that spot, you run the risk of freaking them out, but she’s a player and she is not scared of that moment.”

Lady Bulldogs shut out Boonville 6-0, sweep triangular

Mexico shut out one team in their first 17 games this season. Then it shut out two teams in one day.

The Lady Bulldogs shut out Boonville 6-0 on Saturday afternoon hours after defeating Winfield 7-0. Emma Cunningham and Eboni Mayfield shut down the Winfield and Boonville offense, respectively, despite each of them averaging around seven runs per game this season.

Mexico scored five runs in the first inning on six hits, receiving RBI hits from Hannah Loyd, Karlee Sefrit and Brooke Teel. Sefrit picked up two RBI on a triple, and Loyd, Teel and Lexie Willer each drove in one run. Abby Bellamy finished 3-for-4 with a double.

Head coach Curt Riley said the defense was great all day for Mexico, only committing two errors between the two victories. The Lady Bulldogs’ infield turned a double play in two straight innings to support Mayfield, who allowed seven hits and struck out three in seven innings. Riley said she and Cunningham performed well as each player went the distance while pitching to their defense.

“I thought our pitchers threw the ball really well,” Riley said. “Defensively, we were probably as good as we have been. Offensively, we were putting the ball in play and getting some big hits. We just put it all together this weekend.”

Riley said the victory shows Mexico's depth as the team can be competitive whether it is at full strength or if someone is having a down game. Sefrit had a tough luck 0-for-3 against Winfield in the morning, scalding two balls into the glove of the center fielder Chloe Wehde and robbing Sefrit of an RBI hit in one of the at-bats with a diving catch.

With two runners on in her first at-bat against Boonville, Sefrit lined another ball but this time down the right field line where nobody could catch it. She clapped her hands as she pulled up at third base, doubling the lead to 4-0 at the time.

“Karlee’s been doing that,” Riley said. “She’s been hitting the ball really hard, and she’s been hitting really hard at people. There’s a frustration level with that because you’re not getting a hit and it’s not falling, but you know, when you’re hitting the ball right at people, they’re going to start falling. Defensively, she was as good today as she’s been all year.”

There were several times Sefrit dove for ground balls that were just out of reach and another  where she fielded a ball and ran to second for the inning-ending forceout before firing in time to beat the runner at first. Riley jokingly said Mexico had four outs that inning and wished one could be rolled over to the next.

With sincerity, though, he said that type of effort was present from every Lady Bulldog on the field. Outfielders ran down balls and the entire defense was focused to prevent an extra base from being taken while taking the extra base when the Lady Bulldogs were on offense.

“That was a great two-game effort today from us — one that we really needed bad,” Riley said.

Mexico holds off Marshall 7-6, homers again

It was an interesting sixth inning Monday for Mexico.

The Lady Bulldogs were ahead of Marshall 6-4 until the North Central Missouri Conference Lady Owls tied the game on Riley Wilkinson’s double. Leadoff hitter Jo Thurman stole two bases in the bottom half of the sixth inning and scored the winning run on an error. 

Thurman finished 1-for-2 with three stolen bases and three runs scored, Shi Exendine had two RBI and Hannah Loyd hit her team-high fourth home run of the year to move the team’s record to 7-1 whenever a Lady Bulldog goes yard. She and Abby Bellamy each have four home runs for Mexico.

Thurman and Lexie Willer each reached on defensive miscues in the second inning by Marshall, and Mexico had a 3-0 lead. Loyd’s long ball to center field in the third inning made it 4-0, and then Exendine singled home two more in the fourth inning.

Loyd picked off a runner at first base early in the sixth inning prior to Wilkinson tying the game a few at-bats later. Marshall made an error on a bunt executed by Willer in the bottom half of the inning to help Thurman score. Eboni Mayfield finished her 1⅔ innings in relief with two strikeouts and one hit.

Mexico (11-9, 3-2 NCMC) hosted conference foe Moberly on Tuesday before competing in the Versailles/California Turf War Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

Girls tennis

Seniors lead Mexico to 7-2 win vs Fulton, third straight NCMC victory

The seniors were undefeated Tuesday night in Mexico's varsity battle with Fulton.

Mexico had already taken second place to North Central Missouri Conference rival Fulton in the Lady Pirate Open in Boonville earlier this season but refused to be second again by winning 7-2 at home. Seniors Estrella Ramirez-Lopez, Jocelyn Jarquin-Garcia and Messiah Simpson each won their singles and doubles matches.

"This may have been the hottest and most humid tennis match of the season," head coach Kim Costley said. "We took the matches a little slower than usual to make sure everyone had plenty of breaks. The seniors came out in dominant fashion and won all their singles and doubles matches."

Lopez and Garcia won the No. 2 and No. 3 singles matches, respectively, 10-0 and Simpson won the No. 6 match 10-4. Jyllian Whitworth and Lani Blair also won their singles matches, with Blair winning a 10-8 contest in the No. 5 match.

Lopez and Garcia paired together to win the No. 2 doubles match 10-2, and Simpson teamed with Blair to win the No. 3 match 10-2.

Mexico won  four out of seven junior varsity matches as senior Sandra Cruz-Jarquin won her doubles match 10-2 with partner Baylea Porter.

Three girls each earn two wins in Mexico 6-3 win at Moberly

The Mexico girls want to finish in the top half of the North Central Missouri Conference.

The Lady Bulldogs came out of a 6-3 Thursday win at conference foe Moberly with a 2-2 NCMC record. Lani Blair, Jyllian Whitworth and Messiah Simpson each doubled up on victories in singles and doubles play to give Mexico a win after a 5-4 loss Tuesday at Palmyra and a 6-3 loss Wednesday at School of the Osage.

“The team was focused on our trip to Moberly,” head coach Kim Costley said. “We knew we needed a conference win as we always want to finish in the top half of the conference. Players new to singles are starting to find their stride and understand how to play singles. They are looking more at strategy instead of just thinking about hitting the ball across the net.”

Blair won the No. 5 singles match 10-4 and the No. 2 doubles match 10-4 with partner Katie Gooch. Whitworth was victorious in No. 4 singles by a score of 10-7 and the No. 3 doubles match with her partner Simpson by a 10-2 decision. Simpson won in No. 6 singles 10-3, and Jocelyn Garcia took No. 3 singles 10-4.

Mexico won four of seven junior varsity matches with the pairs of Claire Hudson and Alice Eggen, Lucy Gleeson and Daida Herrera-Garcia, Baylea Porter and Sandra Cruz-Jarquin, and Yolita Rodriguez Rios and Lea Hernandez-Sanchez the winning Lady Bulldogs.

Mexico (4-5, 3-2 NCMC) travels to Boonville (2-6) on Thursday after defeating the Lady Pirates 7-2 at home in the season-opener.

Volleyball

Lady Bulldogs win one match at New Haven Round Robin

Mexico lost to the champions twice before all was said and done.

The Lady Bulldogs played in the New Haven Round Robin on Saturday, going 1-2-1 in the four games they played. New Haven won the event, defeating Mexico twice on its road there.

Mexico had one victory on the day, defeating Belle 25-11 and 25-17. Jessica Stephens led with nine kills and was one of three Lady Bulldogs to have six digs. Ali Walotka and Ally Wilson were the other two, and Aleigha Jackson followed close behind with five digs.

In its match against Bowling Green, Mexico won the first set 25-17 but couldn’t close out the Lady Bobcats by losing the second set 25-23, earning a tie. Stephens led with eight kills, Lizzie Joiner had seven assists, and Stephens and Wilson each had four digs.

In the first loss to New Haven, Mexico dropped the sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-15. No Lady Bulldog finished with more than two kills, but Wilson had seven assists and six digs. The second match with the Lady Shamrocks was lost 25-22 and 25-14, with Stephens finishing with 11 kills and six digs. 

The first match against New Haven was the only time Mexico finished with a hitting efficiency under 1. 

Mexico (3-6-1, 2-2 NCMC) has a rematch Monday at North Central Missouri Conference rival Fulton before another conference rematch Tuesday at Kirksville.

Mexico swept by Fulton second time this year

Mexico was swept again by its rival Monday.

This time, the Lady Bulldogs lost 25-17, 25-19 and 25-18 at Fulton. Jessica Stephens was one of two Mexico players with double-digit digs as she finished with 18 as part of a double-double that also contained 13 kills. Ali Walotka had 10 digs, and Ally Wilson was close with eight digs to go with her 10 assists.

Mexico (3-7-1, 2-3 NCMC) has another conference rematch Tuesday at Kirksville before it hosts Bowling Green on Thursday.

Cross country

Mexico’s Peuster places in top 5 at Fulton Invitational

Thomas Peutster finished not too far behind his home meet time.

The Mexico senior finished in the top 5 of the Fulton Invitational on Saturday, taking fifth place with a time of 17:57.07. Peuster ran to a time of 17:55.7 in his fourth-place finish at the Mexico Cross Country Invitational earlier this season.

He led a boys team that finished seventh in the standings as Guy Fairchild was the next best finisher in 39th place.

The girls secured a top-five team finish thanks to the efforts of two top-25 finishers and three in the top 40. Maggie Ramsey led the team in 24th place with a time of 23:11.92, Kalea Henneberry was right behind her in 25th place with a time of 23:14.65 and Sidney Turlington finished 35th with a time of 23:57.49.

Junior high cross country

Hudson, Brock medal in two straight meets

Saturday has been the day Grace Hudson and Braiden Brock have earned some hardware.

The pair finished high enough to win medals at the Father Tolton Invite on Sept. 10 in Columbia and the Fulton Invitational on Saturday. Hudson finished fifth at Tolton with a time of 13:37 in the 3,000 meters and eighth in Fulton with a time of 14:34 in the 3,200 meters. Brock was 11th at Tolton with a time of 12:04 in the 3,000 meters and 23rd in Fulton with a time of 13:42 in the 3,200 meters.

There were 65 runners competing in the girls race at Tolton and 124 in the boys race. In Fulton, there were 114 girls running and 147 boys competing.






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