At the top of the Eastern Missouri Conference baseball standings the past several seasons there's been a struggle between North Callaway, Silex and Montgomery County that's probably featured more Wildcats glory than anything else.
This is a new year and the Thunderbirds defeated Montgomery County in extra innings on the road earlier this season, so when they got the chance to play at the Owls last Thursday the squad saw it as a chance to make a move towards the 2018 EMO championship. Silex, 5-2 overall, 3-2 EMO, was looking to make that exact same move, though, and proved it by taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning and keeping it through the third.
That's when North Callaway grabbed hold of this game and took control by scoring three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to go up 4-2, only to then score six insurance runs in the seventh to beat Silex 10-2.
"Excellent pitching and excellent defense," said Thunderbird's coach Kevin O'Neal, who charted the 150th victory of his 12-year career as a coach with this decision. "All three of our outfielders made diving catches that kept Silex from scoring runs."
Raising his record to 3-1 for the season for North Callaway by holding the Owls to two earned runs on five hits and four walk with four strikeouts in five inning pitched was Justin Popp. Skyler Morris then earned his first save of the season by throwing the final two innings and allowing just two hits with two strikeouts.
The offense featured some tremendously familiar faces as Popp was 1-for-3 with three RBI and he was hit by a pitch and Morris had two hits and three RBI in three at-bats. Clark Zerr also went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a run.
In the JV game North Callaway, 6-6 overall, lost 4-3.
The Thunderbirds, 10-8 overall, 6-1 overall, are now tied for first with Montgomery County in the EMO with one loss each and next played last Friday at home against Sturgeon on Senior Night.