MONETT — In recent weeks, the McDonald County Mustangs have thrown junior Boston Dowd against three of the best high school pitchers in Southwest Missouri and the state, for that matter.

Dowd has gone up against Webb City’s Tyler Martin, Aurora’s Wyatt Sparks, and Monett’s Corey Spain, all three who should end up pitching at the NCAA Division I level (Martin with Nebraska, Sparks with Missouri State, and Spain has committed to Arkansas).

Dowd and the Mustangs have held their own, although the Mustangs lost all three games, including 2-1 against Monett on Tuesday.

Dowd allowed one run (unearned) on five hits over 5 2/3 innings and he struck out six and walked four. Then, McDonald County head coach Nick Martin called on sophomore Cade Smith and he allowed one run (unearned) on two hits over an inning, surrendering the winning run for the Cubs. Smith struck out two and walked one.

Spain went the distance and allowed one run (earned) on two hits and he struck out 12 and walked one.

The Cubs had a lot more opportunities to score than did the Mustangs, given the Cubs’ seven hits, five walks, and McDonald County’s three errors. Monett, however, stranded 10 runners.

McDonald County stranded two of its three runners, who reached on the hits and the one walk charged to Spain. The Cubs committed no errors.

McDonald County scored one run in the first and Monett tied it up in the second.

In the seventh, Spain worked a walk and scored the winning run on a Zach Blevins single and a McDonald County error.

Blevins singled in the second and scored on a Jedd Anderson single, and worked his way over 180 feet thanks to a McDonald County error.

Dowd supported himself in the first inning with an one-out single, then he advanced to second on Joe Brown’s 4-3 groundout and scored on Charlie Moore’s single.

The Mustangs would not come through with another hit the final six innings against Spain and reached base just once more on a walk in the sixth by Ty Shaver. Shaver stole second, but remained there as Spain struck out Dowd and Brown to retire the side.

McDonald County entered Thursday’s Big 8 clash against Mount Vernon with a 12-7 overall and 3-2 Big 8 record.