The formula has worked plenty of times for the Jefferson City American Legion Post 5 Seniors this summer.
Start slow and fall behind before coming back to win.
"That's kind of been the story of a lot of games we've played this year," Post 5 head coach Dane Hughes said. "We kind of come out going through the motions, but we are able to turn it on and piece it together."
Not even a furious rally could save the Seniors this time.
Post 5 plated six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning before leaving the bases loaded in an 11-10 loss to Moberly on Tuesday night at the American Legion Sports Complex. The defeat snapped the Seniors' 20-game winning streak and put a stop to an undefeated season.
"There's no doubt in anyone's mind, when we've been down, that we're going to end up on top," Hughes said. "That's just the mentality of the guys we have. They're winners, they expect to win. We just dug ourselves a little too deep of a hole today."
With the streak now a thing of the past, Hughes was able to reflect on just how impressive 20 victories in a row are in the game of baseball.
"To win that many games in a row, especially in a condensed (time frame), you have to get pitching depth," he said. "We've been getting pitching up and down, from No. 1 to No. 10 or 11, however many guys we've thrown this year.
"It speaks volumes of the guys and the programs we have around here. The guys expect to win, it doesn't matter who we're playing. That really propelled the streak."
Down 11-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, any realistic chance at victory seemed dubious at best. Post 5 wasn't ready to give up.
"Guys were still in it, they were picking each other up," Hughes said. "After they scored a bunch, we told them, "We've been here before. Just do your job, get on base and pass it off to the next guy and see what happens.'"
Well, a three-run triple from Patrick Schnieders made it 11-7, and an ensuing two-base error made it 11-8 with nobody out. After a strikeout, Seth Lehmen's walk brought the tying run to the plate with one out.
Following Moberly's second pitching change of the frame, Daniel Castillo's bloop single made it 11-9. Garrett Haslag's infield single loaded the bases with one out, and with the top of the lineup coming up, Post 5 seemed poised to steal its most improbable victory of the season.
"Once we rolled it over to the top, that's right where we want it to be," Hughes said. "Dylan's (Brauner) probably been our most valuable player to date. Him and Trevor (Schnieders) both have been hitting the heck out of the ball. Having those guys up is exactly what we wanted."
Brauner popped up to the pitcher on the first pitch he saw, and following a walk to Cole Distler that made it 11-10, three-hole hitter Schnieders struck out swinging to end the game.
"It's the first time being on this side this year," Hughes said of the loss that dropped his team to 20-1. "It's tough, but we're going to see how we rebound. We have Fulton (today). We don't have to sit on this for four or five days."
Moberly had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third before Post 5 went ahead on Lehmen's two-run single in the bottom of the fourth. The Seniors increased their lead in the fifth on an RBI triple from Trevor Schnieders and run-scoring single from Patrick Schnieders.
Post 5 looked to be in good shape.
"With the way our pitchers had been throwing, yes," Hughes said.
Then the sixth inning happened. Moberly sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on six hits.
"Moberly has a good team and hats off to them," Hughes said. "They were able to string together six or seven hits in the sixth inning. That was the difference in the game, just them stringing them together all in a row."
Moberly led 8-4 at that point and increased its lead with three more runs in the top of the eighth.
After a walk and a strikeout, what should of been an inning-ending double play ended up going for an error and kept the inning alive. Moberly capitalized by scoring runs on a double, wild pitch and single.
Still, Post 5 had its chance to win it. Did they ever. It fell just short.
Now the streak is over. There's only one thing to do.
Start a new one.