Boonville junior Nick Zeitlow knew it was only a matter of time before he came out of his hitting slump.
With just two hits in his last 10 at-bats, Zeitlow provided the pop the Pirates were looking for Monday night in NCMC action against Hannibal with a two-run home run to left center field for a 4-3 victory.
Zeitlow said after the game that he didn’t know if the ball was going to go out or not. Zeitlow had a 2-1 count against Hannibal pitcher Wyatt Waelder before placing the ball over the wall to give Boonville the lead  at 4-3.
Boonville Pirates baseball coach Fred Smith said the bottom half of the lineup carried the team today.
“Blake Barnes had a couple of walks, Hunter Spaedy had the double and Nick had a home run to win it so the bottom half of the order did their job today,” Smith said. “The top half didn’t do a whole lot. I guess that is a good thing as far as team win. I thought playing at home with the sun shining and warmer day that we would hit the heck out of the ball like we did against Helias, but again I don’t know if their timing was off or Easter break or what. Just very lackluster.
“But give Hannibal some credit, they came in and filled the zone and put the ball in play and did some things. We didn’t come out of the gate well. Conner (Pond) had a 30-plus pitch first inning with two balks and that didn’t help in that regard, but he settled down and did alright. His pitch count was in the 60s in the third so we had to get him out. Viertel came in and did a good job and ended up holstering a win. It was just a lackluster effort. We didn’t put the ball on the ground enough and had too many fly balls. Defensively we were solid. We also beat Jady (Reese) behind the plate a lot. We had walks and wild pitches all over the place. That’s got to go. I hate walks and wild pitches, just fill the zone.”
Filling the zone proved to be a problem early on as Hannibal put up one run in the top-half of the first on two walks and one hit against starting pitcher Conner Pond.
Pond lasted just 2 2/3 innings against Hannibal nd gave up two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out six. Jared Viertel then came in and pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief for the win by surrendering just one run on three hits and one walk while striking out five.
Hannibal also out-hit Boonville 5-4.
However, after failing to score in the top-half of the second, Hannibal also showed some rust by giving up one run on three walks and one hit. Of course that one hit proved to be big at the time as Hunter Spaedy hit a one-out double to left and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly to center by Zeitlow to tie the game at 1-all.
But even that was short-lived as Hannibal tacked on another run in the third on a lead-off double by Chandler Moffitt, who would eventually score on a walk and a wild pitch to make it 2-1.
Boonville then tied the game again at 2-all in the bottom-half of the third when Spaedy picked up his second hit of the game with a double to deep short to score Jady Reese. Reese was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then advanced to second on the infield single by Dalton Bealmer before coming home on the hit by Spaedy.
Unfortunately for Boonville, the lead was brief as Hannibal came back and tacked on another run in its half of the fourth on two hits and a wild pitch to go up 3-2.
Boonville also turned a double play in the inning when Viertel caught a line drive back to the mound and then doubled off the runner at first.
Meanwhile, in the bottom-half of the fourth, the Pirates provided their own fireworks when Barnes led off the inning with a walk and scored on a two-run home run to left center by Zeitlow to give Boonville the lead at 4-3.
The Pirates never trailed after that as Viertel worked a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth and sixth before giving up a bloop single over second in the seventh. But even that went nowhere as Viertel got the next-two hitters on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out to end the game.
Smith said he told the team after the game that they can’t take anybody lightly.
“We probably should give the folks their money back because we sure didn’t show up to play,” Smith said. “The other thing I told them is that how many times in baseball does a team go through the conference undefeated. I told them that this team has that kind of talent and capability but if they show up like this it will bite them. I told them they have to bring it every day.”
Spaedy definitely brought it for the Pirates by finishing 2-for-3 with two doubles and one RBI. Zeitlow was 1-for-2 with a home run and three RBIs while Bealmer had one double.
For Hannibal, Chandler Moffitt had the only extra base hit with a double.
Wyatt Waelder took the loss on the mound for Hannibal by giving up four runs on four hits and five walks while striking out two.
In the JV game, Boonville defeated Hannibal 3-2.
The Pirates, 4-0 on the season, trailed Hannibal 2-0 after 1 1/2 before rallying back with one in the second, fourth and fifth innings of play for the victory.
Boonville JV coach Adam Arnett said the Pirates really didn't do much at the plate today only having four hits.
“We had to take advantage of their mistakes and manufacture enough runs to win the game,” Arnette said. “In the fifth inning Horst got hit by a pitch to put him on first. Grizzle did a great job laying down a bunt to move the runner over and ended up getting on because of a throwing error which moved our runners to second and third. Reardon came in to run for Horst and did a great job moving up on the error and eventually scoring on a past ball to give us the win. Zach Weber came in and gave us two strong innings in relief and held Hannibal scoreless.”
Zach Weber picked up the win in relief for Boonville. Chad Northern started the game and pitched the first-three innings and allowed two runs on two hits and one walk while striking out one. Weber then came in and pitched two innings in relief and struck out three batters while giving up three hits.
As for the hitting in the game for Boonville, Ethan Waibel, Makiah Waibel and Zach Weber each doubled while Kellen Barnes singled. Chad Northern also drove in one run.