Liberal and Marion C. Early High School of Morrisville meet for the second consecutive season in baseball postseason play.
But this time the stakes are a little higher.
The Bulldogs entertain Morrisville today in the sectional round of the Class 2 state tournament. Game time has been moved up to 3 p.m. — two hours earlier than originally scheduled — in an attempt to beat a rainy forecast.
Last year Liberal and Morrisville met in the district championship game at Liberal, and Morrisville prevailed 5-4.
Liberal (16-7) blanked top-seeded College Heights Christian 3-0 in the District 7 championship game last Tuesday. Favored Morrisville (19-4) won its district one day later by defeating third-seeded Plato 6-0 in District 7.
Brandon Overman threw a three-hit shutout against the Cougars, and pitching is one of the Bulldogs' strengths this season.
"We have several kids with good arms that we have confidence in," Liberal coach Travis Walton said after the CHC game. "People ask who is your No. 1. I don't think we have a No. 1. I think we have about five No. 2s."
In another Class 2 game, Purdy (24-1) takes a 23-game winning streak to Seymour (18-7) for a 5 p.m. contest.
Purdy's lone loss was 4-3 to Class 4 state qualifier Monett in the second game of the season. Of the Eagles' 24 victories this season, only four have been by four runs or less.
Purdy has reached the state tournament for the second straight year. Last year the Eagles lost to New Covenant 8-5 in the sectional round.
The Liberal-Morrisville and Purdy-Seymour winners advance to meet in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday. A Purdy victory would put the Eagles at home for the next round, and a Liberal victory would put the Bulldogs on the road.
Lamar ended the regular season just one game above .500 and was the No. 4 seed in the Class 3 District 13 tournament at El Dorado Springs.
But the Tigers got on a roll and beat Butler 5-3, top-seeded Holden 5-3 in eight innings and No. 2 El Dorado Springs 6-3 to win the district crown.
Now 12-8 and winners of four of its last five games, the Tigers (12-8) play Jefferson City Blair Oaks (19-11) in a sectional game at 5 p.m. today at Lamar City Park.
Blair Oaks breezed through District 14 bracket with victories over Warsaw 8-2 and California 12-1, stretching its winning streak to nine games since a 4-3 loss to Class 4 state participant Helias Catholic.
The Lamar-Blair Oaks winner meets the Summit Christian-Lawson winner in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday. Lamar would be at home against Summit Christian or travel to Lawson.
Verona and Sheldon are home for Class 1 sectional games today.
Actually, Sheldon's game will be played at Lyons Stadium in Nevada as the Panthers (7-6) play Weaubleau (17-9) at 5 p.m.
The Panthers have reached the state tournament for the first time since 2014.
Verona (14-3) plays host to Walnut Grove (18-5) at 4:30. The Wildcats have won eight of their last nine games.
The winners of these games advance to a quarterfinal showdown on Wednesday. Verona would be at home while Sheldon would have to travel.
Class 4, 5
Webb City and Monett will start their state tournaments on Tuesday.
The Cardinals (17-11) are home against Willard (27-6) at 5 p.m. at Barnes Field in a Class 5 game.
In Class 4, Monett (18-6) faces a road game against Springfield Catholic (18-8), also at 5.
Quarterfinal games in these two classes are set for Thursday.