It has been more than one calendar year since the William Monroe baseball team last lost a game, but coach Mike Maynard still remembers what it felt like that day.
"That game kind of stings because we were down to our third or fourth pitcher and Albemarle just came out and took it to us, and that was really an eye opener for us last year."
That was the third game of the season. They won every game from there on their way to a state title, but the Dragons did graduate eight seniors from their championship team.
"Everybody thought we wouldn't be as good this year, but I knew that we had a lot of young talent coming up," said junior pitcher Jack Morris.
With their young talent, WMHs is off to a 16-0 start this season, including an 11-0 record in the Bull Run District. Because they have a perfect record and are the defending state champions, the team says they play every game with a target on their backs.
"It gives me motivation to push hard," says sophomore catcher Keegan Woolford. "Everybody's aiming for us, everybody is going to throw their best against us. So we have to be ready to play, we have to be on our 'A' game to win."
"We have something to fight for, we're defending our state title," says senior third baseman Ryan Leake, who is one of just three seniors on the young roster. "Everybody wants to beat the state champion team so they respect you when you get on the field with them."
Their 42-game winning streak is by far the longest is school history. The Dragons say the streak has continued because of clutch hitting, great team chemistry, and a little bit of luck.
"We've just had, I guess, the baseball gods looking down on us," says Maynard. "We've won a lot of close games that could've gone either way."
Over the past two seasons, they've enjoyed watching the number in the win column go up, but they're not counting down the number of wins it will take to reach next month's state title game.
"They wanted to start announcing that on school, on the PA before school started, but I asked them not to do that," Maynard said of the countdown to a second state title. "I don't want it to jinx us, we're just going to keep riding this as long as we can."
"I don't know how many games we have left to get to state, I just know we've just gotta keep winning them," says junior shortstop Austin Batten.
The team admits that winning 42 straight is an impressive feat, especially in the sport of baseball.
"It's something that you can go down the road and tell your kids and grandkids that you won 42 games in a row. It's just something that you'll never forget."
But Maynard and his players insist that they're still taking things one game at a time.
"The thing about baseball is the best team doesn't always win, and we've been fortunate to win 42 in a row," says Woolford. "Hopefully we'll get the next one tomorrow, and then on after that."