Central Missouri Baseball’s run for a national championship fell one game short. The Mules won earlier in the day to advance to the national championship game, but couldn’t overcome a red-hot Wingate Bulldogs team who lost their first game of the tournament, before winning five straight, including a 5-3 win over the Mules in the championship game. The Mules faced Wingate on Saturday, an hour after being 2019 defending champion Tampa for the second time in the tournament. The Mules ran into a hot Wingate team who rattled off five-straight wins after an opening loss to win the title.
“It’s a resilient group. They fought all year to get here. They are resilient. They’ve experienced a lot. It’s hard for me to go too deep into the people in this uniform. I care a great deal about them. From everything they do, the humans that they are and how they go about their everyday life and how they become better people and better students and better baseball players,” said Mules coach Kyle Crookes. “In terms of this group, are they resilient, sure. You know I also know this group well enough to know that these guys want another shot at it and would play three today if you asked us to. I think the right decisions were made in terms of getting us to today. I tip my hat to the committee and the representatives that made those decisions. It was adverse but everyone has to deal with it. Everyone had to deal with the rain and we’re no different. In terms of my pride in the group in the dugout and my team in general, I can’t say it enough I love them all. I’d go to war with them any day and like I said, we’d go back and play right now if we could. It’s a resilient group. Circumstances are what they are. They were the same for everybody and we just came up on the short end of it.”
The Bulldogs capitalized in the third inning to score the first runs of the game. The Mules committed defensive errors on three consecutive batters, including one two-base error which brought in two runs for Wingate and chased UCM starter Collin Jones from the game. UCM’s offense answered though an inning later. Alex Madera, Brennen vanBreusegen and Josh Schumacher all collected RBI hits and put the Mules in front 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth, McCann Mellett led off with a walk and scored on Logan McNeely’s RBI single to tie the game. An opposite field single off the bat of Gehrig Christopher gave the Bulldogs the lead back. In the seventh, the Bulldogs finally got an insurance run across. Jed Bryant singled to start the inning and pinch hitter Grayson Chapman doubled deep to right center scoring McNeely for a 5-3 lead.
The Mules left a runner on second with a strikeout to end the game. Central Missouri finishes 46-8.