With the 2017-18 basketball and wrestling seasons all but in the rearview mirror, the focus turned to spring sports on Monday as teams across the state opened the first day of practice.
Of course to nobody’s surprise, the Boonville Pirates baseball team had 48 players in grades 9-12 participate in the first day of practice at the high school ballfield.
And like all coaches in every sport, the Pirates worked mainly on fundamentals such as hitting, fielding, throwing and running the bases.
“We’ll work on developing good habits and routines the first two weeks,” Smith said. “The weather has been awesome for the first few days. We got to do a great deal of baseball drill work on the field. I feel like this team has the potential to be a Final four team. Pitching will be strong and deep and infield play and offense should be strengths. Outfield will have a new face or two but that also allows us to be quicker in the outfield and the basepaths. With a pre-season ranking of No. 8, we have high expectations as always.”
The Pirates will compete in a Jamboree on Saturday, March 10th at Liberty park in Sedalia. However the first real game will take place on the road in the season opener against the Fulton Hornets on March 20th starting at 5 p.m. Boonville’s first home game will come two days later on Thursday, March 22nd against the Rock Bridge Bruins at Twillman field in Harley park starting at 5.
The Boonville Lady Pirates soccer team also had huge numbers with 31 athletes taking part in the first practice under first-year coach Kaz James.
James said the first day of practice was great.
“The girls ran a fitness test and then did some footwork to get an idea of how their touch is on the ball,” James said. “I am very excited about this group, I have a good group of seniors that will push the group. The girls set the tone right away on Monday and it will only get better each day. This week we will focus on defensive shape and formation. I plan to have the girls scrimmage each other as much as we can until the first game. Next week we will start to add some other things as far as pattern work on the field and responsibilities on the field.”
The Lady Pirates will also be on the road for the first-two games, opening up with Rock Bridge on March 16th and at Hickman on March 20th. Boonville’s first home game will be against Fulton on March 22nd starting at 5 p.m.
The Boonville boys and girls track teams also hit the ground running on Monday.
With 23 girls and 21 boys participating in practice on Monday, head boys track coach Steve Smith said the first week or two the runners will work on conditioning and then the coaches will also begin to look at what events they can be successful in.
“The throwers will work on technique,” Smith said. “Usually at the beginning in Week 3 we begin the jumping events and start looking at relays.”
Boonville Lady Pirates track coach Melissa Baker said the girls will focus on warming up correctly, running form, practice expectations as well as conditioning.
“The first-two weeks we are assessing the events that each athlete will focus on for their season,” Baker said. “This is the time of the year; we let the young athletes try each individual events-in effort to find their niche. We are also empowering our upperclassmen to be leaders for our track family.”
The Boonville boys and girls track teams will open the 2018 season on the road in the California Relays on Thursday, March 22nd. Due to the work on the soccer fields near the BHS Sports Complex, the Boonville boys and girls track team will have all their meets on the road this season.
As for the Boonville Pirates tennis team, head coach Stephanie Green said 17 boys have taken part in spring drills thus far.
With 13 of the 17 tennis players this season for Boonville, Green said to get back in the rhythm of things the boys are working on hitting.
“We’re trying light doubles match play as a warm up for more strenuous evaluation process starting next week,” Green said. “We’re returning three of our top six and our seven and eight players from last year. We’re working on stretching and conditioning, footwork and warm up strokes so they have a solid process in place when we start playing.”
Green said next week she will evaluate and then challenge matches will take place for placement before their first conference match.
“We’re looking to capitalize on our success from last season,” Green said.
The Pirates will open the 2018 season on the road for their first-two matches against School of the Osage on March 19th and at Marshall on March 20th. Boonville’s first home match will take place on Tuesday, March 27th against Moberly starting at 4:30 p.m.
Last but not least, Boonville Pirates golf coach Rob VanderLinden welcomed 11  golfers for the first day of practice at Hail Ridge Golf Course.
With seven returning golfers and four newcomers this season, VanderLinden said it was a great first day with most of the veterans taking advantage of the nice weather and playing while he worked with the new golfers.
“We reviewed some of the golf course rules, team rules and golf rules in general,” VanderLinden said. “Everyday we will review rules, etiquette, and work on short game. We have our first qualifier scheduled for Saturday afternoon. We will have a total of four qualifiers during the first three weeks to set varsity and JV before our first meet on March 19th.
The Boonville Pirates golf team will open its season on Monday, March 19th at home against the Fulton Hornets starting at 4 p.m.