Sayre senior catcher Nick Klus says he "can't handle it when people tell me 'good game' or 'great effort'" when the Spartans lose to a supposedly superior team.
"I hate that," Klus said.
Hearing those blunt words, Sayre baseball coach Scott Sutton smiled.
"Our players take this program seriously," he said. "We've changed the mindset. We don't take moral victories from tough losses anymore."
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That's why Sutton and his players aren't satisfied with their 13-12 record, even though the Spartans have beaten most of the small schools on their schedule, and competed well (but lost) to some big boys.
Sayre played district rivals Bryan Station and Scott County close before losing. It gave a decent account of itself against top 20 teams Lafayette and Western Hills.
The Spartans also pushed No. 6 Lexington Christian Academy to the limit in the All "A" 11th Region tournament. Sayre loaded the bases in the last inning before losing 6-3.
"That game was a testament that we can play with anybody," senior second baseman Ward Roberts said.
The Spartans would be sporting a better record if not for an anemic offense.
"We have all the talent we need, but we just haven't been able to piece together clutch hits," Roberts said. "That's been our downfall this season. Our pitching's been good. Our defense is solid. But we haven't done it at the plate."
Sutton has the same take on Sayre's season.
"We've had so many games where we needed just one big hit," he said. "Even in games where we're eking out (wins), we could've blown them open with a big hit or two."
Junior pitcher/shortstop Cabot Haggin, who hurt his knee in basketball, has started to find his stroke the last couple of weeks. Junior first baseman Dom Hall has also been getting in a groove.
There's no question what's carried the Spartans all spring. "Our pitching, in my mind, has been phenomenal," Sutton said. "That's what's kept us in games."
Haggin began the season as the clear-cut ace, but Sutton thinks junior Griffin Patterson and freshman Ray Brewer "have caught up with Cabot. They've been dynamite."
Sayre is still a young team. with a roster that includes 10 players who are sophomores or younger.
Roberts and Klus, the only seniors, will graduate with fond memories of their baseball days with the Spartans.
"To be a part of a close-knit bunch of guys, like a small family, I really value that," said Roberts, who will play college ball at Centre.
Klus, who's headed to Sewanee, will remember "just how fun baseball can be, even if we can't win any districts."
Sayre's district challenge this year is formidable.
The Spartans play host to Henry Clay in the 42nd District tournament on Monday. The Blue Devils have beaten Sayre 13 times in a row since they were realigned into the same district in 2006.
Henry Clay hammered the Spartans 12-0 and 14-0 in this regular season.
"If we could beat Henry Clay, it'd be amazing," Klus said, who wasn't talking about a moral victory.