For the first time in the history of the program, the Boonville Pirates baseball team will travel south for the season opener.
Through fundraising and countless hours of planning, the Boonville Pirates baseball team will be making a trip to Cocoa Beach, Florida to play in the Florida Spring Training Tournament on March 17-19.
Although Boonville Pirates baseball coach Fred Smith said his original plan was to go to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Smith said the Pirates will be guaranteed three varsity games and two, possibly three JV games, during the trip to Cocoa Beach.
Of course the planning stages for the trip to Cocoa Beach began approximately one year to the date with a fundraiser to sale Pirate apparel. Then, in October, the parents for the Boonville Pirates baseball team had a “Mouse Race” to help offset some of the cost for the trip.
As it turned out, the two fundraisers brought in over $14,000, which will help pay for almost the entire trip. Smith said the players had to come up with $100 to help offset the cost of their plane ticket. The meals, lodging and hotel will be paid for through the fundraising and donations.
“First of all, the parents worked their tails off for this to happen,” Smith said. “Honestly, 90-plus percent has been the parents. Robyn Horst has probably been the key piece in it along with Angie Ficken and Pat Zeitlowty. It goes on and on. The biggest fundraiser was doing the mouse race. People paid money to name a mouse and then they sponsor a race and gamble and bet on the races. We charged so much to get in and that got them a dinner. It was just a night for the adults to get together. We also had a lot of stuff donated and we raffled stuff but then we had some auctioned items.”
The Boonville Pirates baseball team will leave for Florida, via Frontier Airlines in Kansas City, on Wednesday, March 15th, and arrive in Orlando, Florida later that night.
On Thursday, Smith said the Pirates will have a two hour practice from 2-4 p.m. at Mitchell Ellington Park in Merritt Island, Florida. Then, on Friday, March 17th, the Pirates will play their first game at Melbourne Central Catholic High School against the Class 5 defending state champions at 4:30 p.m. The JV team will later play Melbourne Central Catholic’s JV team at Mitchell Ellington park at 6 p.m.
Saturday’s schedule will have the JV team battling Cedar Creek at Mitchell Ellington park starting at 9 a.m. and the varsity team playing Troy Area, also at Mitchell Ellington park, at 2 p.m. Meanwhile, on the only game scheduled right now for Sunday, the Pirates varsity team will take on Pottstown at 12 noon at Mitchell Ellington park.
Smith said he is still trying to arrange for a third game for the JV team.
“This should be a great experience for the high school kids,” Smith said. “This will give us a chance to play three games before our first regular season game next Tuesday against Fulton. The other side of it is that we have 5-6 kids that have a chance to go play ball collegiately so what better way to showcase their skills. The kids get seen by more people and it proves that they can go on the road and handle themselves properly.
“For our kids, some will get to see the ocean for the first time so that’s a great learning experience and something that they will cherish. The other thing is some people have never been out of the state, period. All of those things are positive as well. We know we will play 3-4 baseball games and hopefully that will have us better prepared for Fulton on Tuesday with another Final Four team.”
Boonville’s baseball team is scheduled to return from Orlando to Kansas City on Monday, March 20th.