It’s been a long time coming for the Seneca Indians, but they claimed their first outright Big 8 Conference championship on Wednesday with a 10-0 victory over Mount Vernon in six innings.
According to coach Chris Yust, this was the first outright conference title for the Indians (16-4, 6-1) since his Indians did it in his first year at the helm seven years ago, and followed up as co-champs the next season.
Despite a late change in the schedule — Wednesday’s game was originally slated for Friday — the Indians had little trouble getting ready to play. Perhaps riding the momentum from Tuesday’s Big 8 victory over Monett that guaranteed them a share of the conference title, the Indians scored three runs in the first, two in the second, one in the third and three more in the sixth as the offense slugged 10 hits.
It seemed Payton Rawlins was on cruise control on the mound as the big righty went the distance while surrendering six hits with six strikeouts and no walks. He also had a hit and scored twice on offense.
Marty Mailes, however, was the player of the game as the senior went 4 for 4 with two home runs, a double and five RBIs. Dalan Merriman also had two hits, including a triple, while Kyler Ng collected two hits, including a double, and three RBIs.
Cade Cornett had three hits and an RBI, as well.
Mailes crushed a three-run homer in the sixth and a solo shot in the fourth.
“We swung it well and we took advantage of a couple of mistakes they had,” Yust said. “We played well defensively and Payton threw strikes.
“It’s nice to win conference. That’s been one of our goals, obviously, is to win conference. At the same time that’s just step-one of what we want to accomplish this season. Hopefully we can continue to build off of it.”
Mount Vernon won the B game 6-1.
The Indians also drew the top seed in the Class 4, District 11 Tournament to be held at the Seneca Baseball/Softball Complex on May 11-16. The rest of the seedings are 2. Monett. 3. Carl Junction. 4. McDonald County. 5. Cassville. 6. East Newton.
The Indians are at Webb City today at 4:30 p.m.