The resilient Hannibal baseball team has made a habit of fighting from behind for victories on the diamond this season.
It's better late than never.
That might as well be the motto for the Hannibal baseball team this season.
Hannibal has erased deficits in eight of its nine wins so far this year. Four different times, the Pirates have trailed in the sixth inning or later but still found a way to finish on top.
Comeback victories have powered the Pirates' resurgence — especially during an eight-game winning streak — following a disappointing 0-3 start to the campaign.
“We kind of have a switch we turn in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings,” senior Colton Brown said. “It's weird, and I don't know what happens. But we just start hitting the ball. It doesn't matter if we have two outs, we're going to grind it out.”
Perhaps the most thrilling come-from-behind win to date for Hannibal came against state-ranked Boonville on Thursday, April 12.
Gabe Worthington and Will Whitaker provided run-scoring hits in the bottom of the sixth inning before Wyatt Waelder shut the door for a 1-2-3 seventh to escape with a 3-2 triumph.
Five days later, Hannibal overcame a pair of 6-3, sixth-inning deficits to sweep a doubleheader against Mexico.
“We've got this attitude that we know we can win games,” Waelder said. “We know we can come out here and beat anybody that steps on the field. We're not going to lie down for anybody, no matter the run deficit. We're not going to count ourselves out of any game.”
Hannibal secured its first win over Quincy since 2013 last Friday with a 15-5 mercy-rule victory.
The final score against the Blue Devils was deceiving, as the Pirates trailed 5-3 in the fourth before plating three runs in the fourth, four in the fifth and five in the sixth.
The most recent comeback victory for Hannibal came Tuesday against Marshall.
The Pirates trailed by a run going to the bottom of the seventh before Worthington and Chase Kirby each reached base with nobody out.
Brown tied the game with an RBI hit, and Lawson Rickey came through with a walk-off single to win 4-3.
“We just don't like losing,” Kirby said. “We string hits together when we need it. I don't know why we can't do it all the time, but it comes in handy when we need it. It is what it is. We stick together.”
Hannibal holds a record of 9-4 overall and 8-3 in the North Central Missouri Conference.
The Pirates are in line for a top-three finish in the league.
They play at first-place Boonville on Saturday in their NCMC finale.
Hannibal is still within striking distance for the conference title, though many schools still have league games to play next week before the final standings will be finalized.
No matter where the chips fall, Hannibal has proven capable of handling adversity that has come its way.
With one more victory, the Pirates would reach 10 wins for the first season since 2012.
Hannibal plays a non-conference game at Palmyra on Friday.
Pirates coach Ian Hatton mentioned the slew of comebacks has given his team confidence.
“We've got faith in all of our guys whether it's offensively or defensively that when somebody is called upon, they're going to do something positive,” the skipper said.