Boonville Pirate skipper Tim Edwards didn't quite know what to think of last night's 5-3 loss against the Kirksville Tigers in NCMC action at Twillman field in Harley park.
Although the Pirates and Tigers have battled back and forth over the years, with each winning their fare share of games, Edwards was a little perplexed on his teams six errors and only six hits in the setback.
After scoring only four runs on five hits in the season opener against the Fulton Hornets, the Pirates have now scored just seven runs for an average of 3.5 rpg while collecting 11 hits for a 5.5 average.
"We have to play better than we played tonight," Edwards stated after the game. "Defensively we made way too many mistakes and they are simple mistakes that we have worked on and talked about with our guys on making the routine play. To do that you have to look the ball in before you catch it and before you throw it. We are just making simple mistakes defensively. Offensively I thought we didn't square a whole lot of balls up tonight. That's probably a product of our second game of the year and it was their sixth game, so I think they had a little bit of an advantage on us there as far as they have had more at bats. I think we will come around at the plate but we have to hit the ball better, too."
Despite committing six errors on the night, Edwards said one of the positives during the game was the pitching of junior Chase Snapp and sophomore Josh Judd. Of course Edwards could say the same about the pitching of Kirksville's Preston Miller, who limited the Pirates three runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks while striking out three. Miller also had two of the team's eight hits in the game for the Tigers with two singles.
As for Snapp, the left-handed hurler dropped to 1-1 on the season by giving up five runs, two earned, on seven hits and one walk while striking out three batters in five innings. Judd then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed one hit and one walk while striking out two batters.
While the Pirates had runners on base in every inning, they also hit into three double plays and had runners gunned down at second and third on two different occasions.
As for Kirksville, they opened the game with one run in the top-half of the first when Jonathan Cabreza reached on a error to start the game and later scored on the RBI-single to center by Gunner Western.
Boonville, meanwhile, didn't get its first hit or run of the game until the bottom-half of the fourth when Jalen Poindexter led off with a walk, advanced to second on the infield single to third by Zach Nixon and scored on the ground out by Ethan Sander.
But by then Kirksville already had a 3-1 lead after pushing across two runs in the top-half of the fourth on two errors and a double to right field by Kylan Easley.
The Pirates kept it close, though. In the fifth, Boonville tacked on another run when Alec Viertel reached on an infield single to second and later scored on the RBI-single to center by Kelsey Callaway to make it 3-2.
But even that was short-lived as Kirksville came back and tacked on two more runs in its half of the sixth on two hits, one walk and two more errors to extend the lead to 5-2.
With the game winding down for the Pirates, the boys in blue battled back once again in the bottom-half of the sixth with one run when Austin Hulbert led off with a double to right and advanced to third on the infield single by Poindexter. Nixon then drove in Poindexter with a deep fly to center to cut the lead to two at 5-3.
Unfortunately for Boonville, they would get no closer as Miller worked around a one-out double in the bottom-half of the seventh by Viertel to pick up the complete-game victory.
Edwards said quite frankly he felt fortunate to only be down 3-2 in the fifth.
"We worked ourselves out of jams and made some plays when we had to and pitched well to get out of some jams, but we were fortunate to be close there at the end," Edwards said. "We put ourselves in a spot early and gave up too many unearned runs. I was a little concerned going into the game, though. I don't like playing on days when we are off school because kids are out of their routine, but again no excuses Kirksville played better than us. We have to play defense and hit or we are not going to win many ballgames. They always say it comes down to pitching but you have to have all three phases, however, I felt we did pitch well."
Easley also wrecked havoc on the Pirates with a 3-for-4 performance with two singles, one double and two runs scored.
As for Boonville, Viertel went 2-for-3 with a single, double and one run scored. Hulbert was 1-for-2 with a double and one run scored while Poindexter added a single and one run scored and Nixon and Callaway with one single each.
The Pirates JV baseball team also fell at home against the Tigers by a score of 6-0.
Boonville's JV, 1-1 overall and in the conference, gave up one run in the second, two again in the fourth and three in the fifth to suffer the loss.
Boonville JV coach George Monk said this game gave the team an opportunity to learn. "Unfortunately, the lessons were expensive as Kirksville took advantage of our mistakes," Monk said. "Conner Pond did a nice job and kept us in the game. We lost two opportunities to mount some offense with baserunning mistakes."
Conner Pond, 0-1 on the season, took the loss on the mound for Boonville by giving up one run on four hits while striking out four batters in three innings. Tavious Brazil then came in and pitched two innings in relief and yielded five runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks while striking out two.
Jady Reese had the only extra base hit in the ballgame for Boonville, being a double, while Quincy Banuet and Tavious Brazil each singled.