Staley High School baseball coach David Wilson didn’t need to deliver any motivational speeches.
The 2015 playoff finish did the work for him.
Eleven months ago, the Falcons earned a trip to the Missouri Class 5 state championship game. But the opportunity dissipated in a hurry, and their hopes for the first state title in program history ended in a blowout loss.
“Once you get a taste of the postseason, they would obviously love to get back there,” Wilson said. “They haven’t forgotten about that, and they would obviously love another chance.”
The ride will start on May 19, when the Falcons play in the Missouri 5, District 16 semifinals. Staley, 28-4, has matched a school record for victories in a season and holds the No. 1 ranking in the state coaches’ poll.
The formula is a carbon copy of 2015 – defense, speed and pitching. The Falcons have stolen 103 bases as a team. The pitching staff owns a 2.27 earned run average for the season, led by left-hander Hunter Swift, who is 7-0 with a 0.78 ERA this year.
“We have a deep staff. I feel like we have five or six guys that we feel confident are going to keep us in the baseball game,” Wilson said. “They don’t walk hitters, and that allows our defense to play a factor.”
They’re not bad at the plate, either. Center fielder Jack Duffy, a Missouri State signee, is batting .530 with six home runs and 29 steals. Shortstop Ross Messina is hitting .486 and has driven in a team-best 41 runs.
But the hot-hitting Falcons will endure an 11-day break before facing the winner of Park Hill and St. Joseph Central in the district semifinals next week.
“We will have some intrasquad games, and we’ll probably make them pretty competitive,” Wilson said.
Liberty (District 15), Blue Springs (District 14) and Rockhurst (District 13) also earned top district seeds in Missouri Class 5. The opening round of the Class 5 playoffs takes place Saturday.
Smithville (District 15) and Pleasant Hill (District 14) are No. 1 seeds in Class 4 district tournaments that begin Saturday.
Lawson (District 16) and Summit Christian Academy (District 15) are top seeds in Class 3 district tournaments, which also start Saturday.