The Boonville Pirates baseball team knew if there was ever a equalizer in baseball it was Saturday's Wood Bat Tournament at Twillman field in Harley park.
After canceling Friday night's games due to wet fields, the Pirates opened tournament play against the Grain Valley Eagles, who has been a nemesis over the years in the MRVC.
In what has been a rivalry over the years, the Eagles once again capitalized on Boonville's misfortunes by scoring the game's only run in the seventh inning for a 1-0 victory. Meanwhile, in the final game of the tournament, Columbia Hickman scored at least one run in every inning but the first and fifth to beat Boonville 10-2.
While the Pirates finished the tournament at 0-2 and dropped to 6-6 on the season, head coach Tim Edwards said he was disappointed for the simple fact that he didn't think the team was mentally where they needed to be for the tournament.
"We haven't been able to get any rhythm at all but that's the same way with everybody," Edwards said. "But it was a beautiful day and an opportunity to get out here and play some good baseball. We didn't perform very well today. We hit the ball hard on occasion but we didn't square it up very well."
Although the Pirates out-hit Grain Valley 4-3 in the first game, they also had one costly error which eventually led to the winning run in the seventh.
The hitting was also pretty much non-existent. The Pirates didn't get their first hit until the fourth when Jalen Poindexter smashed a lead off double to right center. However, after rounding second, Poindexter made the mistake of venturing off the bag a little too far and was caught in a rundown to end the threat.
Boonville also put the leadoff man on in the fifth when Ethan Sander laced a single to left. However, another baserunning blunder all but nixed any hope the Pirates had of scoring.
The Eagles, meanwhile, put two batters on in the sixth after singles with one out. However, the second hit proved to be a costly one for Boonville when the ball scooted by the left fielder allowing the runner to score from second for the game's only run.
Edwards said the team just had a couple of mistakes on the bases against Grain Valley. "I thought Caleb (Hein) pitched a good ballgame and if we take care of our mistakes on the bases and squeeze out a couple of runs we can win the game," Edwards said.
Crayton Smith picked up the win on the mound for Grain Valley while Caleb Hein took the loss for Boonville. Smith pitched all seven innings for Grain Valley and struck out seven batters while giving up just four hits and one walk. Hein, meanwhile, pitched all seven innings for the Pirates and allowed one run on three hits while walking one and striking out five.
Page 2 of 2 - Jake Deselle, Ryan Niemann and Dylan Simpson each had one hit in the game for Grain Valley.
For Boonville, Jalen Poindexter doubled while Ethan Sander, Alec Viertel and Jacob Francis each singled.
In the game against Hickman, the Pirates again got off to a slow start by giving up one run in the second, third and fourth innings of play to trail 3-0. However, in the bottom-half of the fifth, Boonville finally got on the board by sending two runs across on two walks, an infield single by Austin Hulbert, a fly out to center for an RBI by Zach Nixon and infield single by Keaton Barnes to cut the lead to 3-2.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, they never got any closer in the ballgame as Hickman came back with a five spot in the sixth on the three-run home run to left by Jared Hyler to make it 8-2. The Kewpies then added two more runs in the seventh to garner the victory.
Edwards said he was proud of the team for fighting its way back in the sixth to cut it to one. "We got a ground ball in the sixth that could have got us possibly out of the inning but we made an error on that play and it turns into five runs in that inning and that was it," Edwards said. "They have a good team and they hit the ball well. I was happy that we battled back there to get it to within one in the sixth but we have to make the plays."
Andy Roseman went the distance on the mound for Hickman to garner the victory while Chase Snapp took the loss for Boonville. In seven innings, Roseman struck out eight batters and gave up two runs on six hits and four walks. Snapp, meanwhile, pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on five hits and five walks while striking out four batters. John Reese then came in and pitched 1 2/3 innings and surrendered five runs, four earned, on two hits and one walk while striking out one.
Aaron Tajnai went 2-for-4 in the game for Hickman with a single, double and one RBI. Hyler had a home run and three RBIs while Ryan McMahan and Colby Fitch added one hit and two RBIs each.
For Boonville, Austin Hulbert went 2-for-4 with two singles. Keaton Barnes added a single and one RBI while Alec Viertel, Jalen Poindexter and Jacob Francis each had one single and Zach Nixon with one RBI.