If the skills competition last night at Twillman field in Harley park is any indication of the baseball for the next-four days during the 15-year-old Midwest Plains Regional Tournament, you had better watch out.
After checking in Thursday afternoon at the BHS Commons, the players, coaches and family members were also treated to a banquet at the Boonville Knights of Columbus last night. Former Boonville Pirates baseball coach and Central Methodist baseball coach Fred Smith spoke to the crowd during the banquet.
Boonville's Mark Waibel, who coached Imhoff Appliances in the Junior Babe Ruth League this summer, said he had to stop serving and listen to Smith talk to the players and coaches. "He caught my attention, that's for sure," Waibel said. "I think the players really enjoyed the speech because it was centered around them."
Of course after the banquet, the skills competition featured all eight teams battling in games on the field.
The first skills competition tested the players speed around the bases. With two runners per team, SEMO South's Jaron Glass prevailed as the fastest player among a field of 16 athletes.
Next came the catcher pop time from home plate to second. With just one catcher per team, Boonville's Dalton Bealmer emerged with the fastest time from home to second.
After the catcher pop time, Zach Hulbert, who helped coordinate the event, hit infield to the players from deep shortstop. With four infielders per team, the object of this skills competition was to see who could field the ball cleanly and make a good throw to first base. With over 30 kids participating, SEMO South's Stephen Carter emerged as the king of the infield.
The outfielders also got to showcase their skills in a different way. With each outfielder positioned in center field, the object of this skills competition was to see not only the strength of their arm but also their accuracy. With a barrel positioned behind home plate, North Dakota's Sam Leidholm came the closest to the barrel to garner a $10 gift certificate from Walmart.
Lastly, the skills competition ended with the base race, which consisted of all four infielders throwing the ball around the infield for time. Ottumwa, Iowa led the field, which consisted of six throws, in a time of 9.25 seconds.