Hannibal surged to a big lead and secured a convincing 12-2 victory over Mexico on Tuesday.
The win came a little easier this time.
When the Hannibal baseball team traveled to Mexico for a game April 18, the Pirates overcame a six-run deficit to win 13-12 in dramatic fashion.
On Tuesday night, Hannibal surged to a 9-0 lead over its North Central Missouri Conference rival and never looked back to secure a convincing 12-2 home victory shortened to six innings by the mercy rule.
“Today was about stepping up, taking a spot, showing what you can do, and the kids came through,” Hannibal coach Daryl Zessin said. “It was a team win.”
Hannibal (9-6, 7-3 NCMC), which celebrated Senior Night for Scot Roberts, Noah Zahn and Chandler Moffitt at Veterans Sports Complex, got its offense going for three runs in the second inning to take the lead.
Braden Schlueter drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Will Whitaker before sophomore catcher Adam Baxter delivered a two-RBI single to center field that scored Wyatt Waelder and Evan Sanders.
Whitaker continued the offensive onslaught in the third inning with a two-run home run to left field that put the Pirates up 5-0.
“Lots of my teammates know I like the inside pitch, so I took my hands to the ball and fortunately I got a good swing on it and lucky enough it went over the fence,” Whitaker said.
The homer, which snuck over the fence, brought the Hannibal team out of the dugout for a celebration when Whitaker crossed home plate.
B3: Home run by Will Whitaker plates two more to put Hannibal ahead 5-0. pic.twitter.com/rYt37n70Ts— Courier-Post (@HCP_Sports) May 9, 2017
“We didn't really think it was going over,” Hannibal starting pitcher Payton Phillips admitted. “It just kept going. We were all really excited because he's been talking about wanting to hit one.”
Waelder and Moffitt scored on errors to extend the home team's lead to 7-0 in the third.
The Pirates scoring spree proved more than enough for Phillips to work with. The junior pitched four scoreless innings while allowing just one hit to earn the win.
“It was something I've been doing lately, I don't know,” Phillips said of his success. “Just threw strikes. I've got a good defense behind me and I just worked.”
In the fourth, Waelder, who finished 3-for-4, singled home Lawson Rickey before Whitaker scored his third run of the day on an error to make it 9-0.
Mexico countered for two runs in the fifth off Hannibal reliever Zahn but never clawed any closer.
Rickey scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning before Hannibal plated two more in the sixth to enforce the mercy rule. Moffitt scored on an error, and Zahn singled to right field to bring home Colton Brown for the game-ending run.
That's a Hannibal winner. Noah Zahn ends the game with an RBI single that seals Pirates 12-2 mercy rule win over Mexico. pic.twitter.com/qAS8apem5Y— Courier-Post (@HCP_Sports) May 9, 2017
The blowout victory came in spite of the fact that several regulars were out of the Hannibal lineup.
“We had some adversity with our team,” Whitaker said. “Some of them had a little rough times, and we overcame that. Fortunately, we played pretty good.”
Hannibal closes its regular season at Moberly on Thursday before opening the Class 5 District 8 tournament against Troy Buchanan on Saturday.
“This is definitely a boost,” Whitaker concluded. “Mexico is a conference team, and that is going to definitely carry on into Saturday with districts. Hopefully we'll play good then too.”
Hannibal 12, Mexico 2
Mexico 000 020 X -- 2 2 4
Hannibal 034 212 X -- 12 8 3
MEXICO (1-16) -- LP: Cameron Baumgartner. Top hitter: Cole Whalen 1-for-3 1 RBI
HANNIBAL (9-6) -- WP: Payton Phillips. Top hitters: Wyatt Waelder 3-for-4 1 RBI 2 runs; Will Whitaker 1-for-2 2 RBIs 3 runs