Mustangs ready for playoffs

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Coach Keith Sitton was honored for his 300th career win along with the Madisonville baseball seniors on Friday before they won their final regular season game with a walk-off knock from Zach Poe.

Seniors Poe, Sam Bennett, Ben Phillips, Riley Wood, Bryce Bennett, Kasey Williamson, Will Hudson and Matt Rudis competed in their final home regular season contest. The players were recognized before the game along the third baseline with their parents and coaches.

“This is an exceptional group of seniors, not just as players but as young men,” said Sitton. “They’ve meant so much to this program so honoring them along with their parents for their support was important to us.”

Before the senior ceremony, Sitton was greeted at home plate by members of his family or characters that have played a pivotal role in his impressive coaching career. He was presented with a golden glove trophy as well as a signed black bat to commemorate his 300 wins. His players would reward him with number 301 just hours later.

“This was a huge surprise to me and made the night even more memorable,” said Sitton. “They’ve always been supportive of me throughout my career and have been right next to me with every step. This was a special night for everyone involved with the game.”

The Mustangs got down early thanks to a quick three spot in the top of the first inning for the Trojans. They would add another in the top of the second off of starting pitcher Williamson, who allowed three earned runs in as many innings.

Madisonville enjoyed an offensive outburst in their half of the second inning off of the Trojan starer and posted six runs to take their first lead of the evening. Both Madisonville and West pitching settled in nicely for the remainder of the game.

Neither team would post another run until West crossed the plate in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game at 6. Both runs were surrendered by Poe, but only one of them was earned.

Poe would more than makeup for this two innings later with his walk-off base hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to ensure a victory on senior night for his teammates. Brandon Larson, who relieved Poe, would pick up the win from the bump. Poe drove home three runs in the game and Sam Bennett brought home two. Hudson, Rudis and Corey Shuck each recorded and RBI each as well.

“Any time you respond well to adversity it helps your team,” said Sitton. “We got down early and had to fight our way back into it. Then we lost the lead late and had to rally in extras to win it. Those are situations that test the resiliency of a team.”

The Mustangs will now turn their attention to the postseason, which is set to begin with a best-of-three series against Hillsboro. The Mustangs will travel to Hillsboro for game one on Thursday night at 6 p.m. Game two will be held on Friday in Madisonville at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a game three to decided the series if necessary.

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