The Jefferson City Renegades made the MINK League playoffs in each of their first two seasons.
With the regular season into its final week, it's going to be a severe uphill climb to make it three in a row.
"Two weeks ago, we were in great shape," Renegades manager Mike DeMilia said Tuesday night after his team dropped a doubleheader to the Ozark Generals at Vivion Field. "And now to think that we're almost out of it is crazy.
"But we just need to find a way to win a baseball game, if we don't win games, it doesn't matter."
Jefferson City is now 12-21 in the MINK. Nevada (12-18) is now 11/2 games ahead of the Renegades for the final playoff spot in the South Division. The regular season concludes Sunday.
"We have not quit," DeMilia said. "It's just coming up a hit or two short the past couple of weeks."
The Renegades dropped the opener 11-2.
The Generals led 1-0 after two innings before scoring eight times in the third. Ozark only had four hits in the inning, but were able to run up the score by virtue of mental and physical errors in the infield.
"We didn't handle adversity very well and things just compounded," DeMilia said. "That's something you would hope college guys would be over, but tonight, they weren't."
The Generals added a run in the fourth to make it 10-0.
The Rengades scored their two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Paul Haupt reached on an infield single with one out before Lincoln Orellana followed with a home run over the fence in right-center. Those were two of Jefferson City's three hits in the game.
"I could tell in batting practice we weren't focused and that carried over into the game," DeMilia said.
Ozark added its final run in the top of the seventh.
Tyler Robbins took the loss, but pitched better than his stats. In 21/3 innings, he allowed nine runs (none earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out three. Luke Gray pitched the final 42/3 innings, allowing two runs on a hit and two walks. He struck out three.
Walks were the story of the second game. The Renegades walked 11 Generals in a 7-5 loss.
The Renegades took the lead with a run in the bottom of the first. Peyton Leeper led off with a single and stole second. One out later, Haupt drilled a 1-2 pitch to right to score Leeper.
Ozark took the lead in the third without hitting the ball out of the infield. The first three Generals walked to load the bases before two came around to score on ground outs.
The Rengades tied it in the bottom of the inning, Leeper led off with a walk and stole second. He then went to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a balk.
The Generals regained the lead in the fourth on a one-out walk, followed by a passed ball, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.
Ozark extended its advantage to 6-2 with three runs in the fifth. With one out, the Generals got an infield single for their first hit of the game before a pair of walks loaded the bases. Brigham Booe then lined a double down the line in right to clear the bases.
"It was a good pitch, they just put a good swing on it," DeMilia said.
Jefferson City got those three runs back in the bottom of the sixth. Haupt, Orellana and Carter Mize led off the inning by drawing walks. One out later, Ryan Missal hit a one-hopper off the fence in right to score Haupt and Orellana to make it 6-4. Austin Fennewald followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5.
The Generals got an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a single, stolen base, sacrifice bunt and a balk.
Leeper led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch and after a strikeout, advanced to third on a grounder before another strikeout ended it.
Missal had two of the Renegades' four hits.
Christian Thrasher got his first start of the season for the Renegades. He allowed two runs on no hits and five walks while striking out one.
"Christian just didn't fill the zone up," DeMilia said.
Thrasher started in place of Lukas Veinbergs, who joined a team in the Cape Cod League in recent days.
Colton Hoelscher took the loss, allowing four runs on a hit and three walks. He struck out two. Shane Fontenot pitched 11/3 innings, allowing a hit and two walks. Lane Threlkeld pitched the seventh, allowing a run on a hit.
Ozark leads the South Division with a record of 18-14.
"It's not from a lack of effort, we just lose focus sometimes," DeMilia said. "There is more in this team and I don't think we're getting it recently. There are still some games to go for that to happen."
The Renegades will host the Joplin Outlaws at 7 p.m. today.