Carl Junction found itself up against some familiar faces on Wednesday.
And it generated the same results as it did in 2015.
For the second year in a row, the Carl Junction baseball team can call itself the Class 4, District 12 champion.
The two-seed Bulldogs wrapped up the district tournament by sweeping familiar foe Monett 11-0 at Missouri Southern State University’s Warren Turner Field in Joplin.
This was a little different than the Big 8 conference game outcome when Monett edged the Bulldogs 4-3 in April.
But that’s “how baseball goes sometimes,” Carl Junction head coach Flave Darnell said. “We knew we’d get their best effort, and they got our best effort. Some balls fell for us, and we took advantage of guys on base.”
“I expected it to be a close game,” Monett head coach Michael Calhoun said, “I didn’t expect it to be one way or the other, but that’s baseball. Sometimes things just go one way a lot. They’re a good team. You give them some chances there and they make the most of it, and they made the most of just about every chance they got.”
Monett had its chance in the first inning when Zach Burgherr got to third base, but no Cub ventured further or as far the rest of the game.
Darnell said, “We got it that first inning and they threatened, and we got some runs in the second. That was huge.”
The Bulldogs collected four runs in the second.
Carl Junction’s Ben Luton started off the eventful inning by belting out a double. Luton soon scored on Hunter Adams’ RBI, which followed by a walk from Evan Hutcheson.
After Zach Snodgrass’ single, Dawson Fenix earned himself an RBI to bring in Hutcheson with only one out to make it 2-0 Carl Junction.
Bases loaded, Ethan Frack was ready for the moment.
The junior hit an RBI double, running in Adams and Snodgrass to end the inning 4-0 in the Bulldogs’ favor.
But another eventful inning was about to begin as five more runs were added to the scoreboard.
With walks from Hutcheson and Snodgrass, and a single from Adams, the bases were loaded once again.
This time it was Ryan Devore with the RBI double to run in Hutcheson and Adams to make it 6-0 for Carl Junction.
Snodgrass soon scored on another Frack RBI, making it 7-0.
Tay Mitchell and Luton each walked with bases loaded for an RBI each, finishing the third inning at 9-0.
The final points of the game came from Snodgrass thanks to Devore’s RBI, and Devore from Frack’s RBI.
Calhoun said of his opponents, “Carl Junction played a great game. They swung the bat real well. If we made any mistakes on the mound or defensively, they made us pay for it. (Justice) Hylton did a great job on the mound throwing. He threw a lot of strikes and they made a lot of plays defensively. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to tip your hat to them.”
The Cubs finished their 2016 season 22-4, which was record-breaking at Monett High School.
“We set the record last year and we broke it this year. We had a great year. It doesn’t end the way you want it to, but the kids did a great job,” said Calhoun.
As for Carl Junction (23-7), it will play the Class 4, District 11 winner at state sectionals May 24, which will be either Rogersville or Aurora. Those teams will play 5 p.m. Thursday for their district title.
“Not to sound too cliché, but we’re going to try to take these playoff games one at a time. We know the next round’s going to be really tough and we’re looking forward to it,” Darnell said.