Improve to 2-0 on the season

So far this season the Boonville Pirates baseball team is making it tough on their opponents in the first-two innings.
In the game Tuesday night against Fulton, the Pirates put up six runs on their way to a 9-2 victory. Meanwhile, in the game Thursday night at Twillman field in Harley park, Boonville exploded for five runs in the first-two innings to beat Class 5 Columbia Rock Bridge 6-5.
Although the game started off with a short delay due to scoreboard malfunction, the Pirates left little doubt early on with three runs in the first on three walks and two hit batters to go up 3-0. But then to add salt to the wound, Boonville tacked on two more runs in the second on what head coach Fred Smith called a “bomb” to left by senior Kole Ficken to extend the lead to 5-0.
Needless to say, the game was far from being over at that point as Rock Bridge, who came into the game undefeated at 3-0, rallied back with two runs in the third and three again in the fourth to tie the game at 5-all.
“Obviously it was a great start in the first inning,” Smith said. “Again we had the bases loaded and scored a couple of runs but our 7-8-9 hitters don’t put the ball in play and end up with three strikeouts. As a coach I wasn’t happy there, but then it was nice to get spotted three runs early, especially against a good team.
“Kole then hits a bomb shot and we go up 50 and then again we got complacent like we did the other night when we got up 8-0 against Fulton. The next thing you know Rock Bridge puts a couple of hits together and it’s a 5-2 game. Then, after they tie the game at 5-5, the kids showed me some stuff and turned right around and got the lead off guy on and Ficken ends up scoring what proved to be the winning run. We need these kind of games and it’s nice to get a win against a quality team. Rock Bridge is always quality competition. We’ll enjoy this one tonight and get back to work because there are some things we need to work on.”
Hitting would be one, as the Pirates were actually out-hit by Rock Bridge 9-3. However this was also Rock Bridge’s fourth game compared to just the second for Boonville.
As for the pitching, the Pirates again got a quality start from junior Connor Barnes. While Jared Viertel recorded five strikeouts in three innings against Fulton, Barnes gave up five runs on four hits and two walks in three innings against Rock Bridge. He also struck out five batters for the no decision.
Reece Lang picked up the win on the mound for Boonville in relief. In three innings, Lang struck out three batters and gave up no runs on five hits and one walk. Then, to closeout the game, Trae Williams pitched one inning and struck out one batter.
“The pitching was solid again,” Smith said. “Connor did his job and then Reece came in and threw strikes in a tough spot. He had bases loaded and a 2-0 count so he did a nice job there. Then, to finish the game, Trae came in and did what he needed to do. But all in all a good night.”
Good for Boonville, bad for Rock Bridge, who struggled most of the night with its pitching. To Rock Bridge’s defense, they did play the night before against Smith-Cotton and two over the weekend. But in the first inning, Boonville had three runs without so much as a hit. Then, in the second, the Bruins struggled again with their control on the mound after giving up a one out walk to Reardon and a two run home run to Ficken on a 3-1 count.
While the lead could have been more, the Pirates gave Rock Bridge back two runs in the third on three straight singles to cut into their lead at 5-2. Then, in the fourth, the Bruins tacked on three more runs on three hits, one walk, one error and one hit batter to tie the game at 5-all.
Boonville also caught a break in the fifth when junior Carson Campbell gunned down Brant Scrivner at second after Scrivner singled to deep left to lead off. The Bruins had two singles after that. The Pirates then scored what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom-half of the inning after a lead off walk by Ficken and back to back singles by Dylan Watson and Ben Horst to make it 6-5.
Rock Bridge made it interesting in the seventh. After a strikeout to open up the inning, Williams came back hit the next batter and looked to have a game-ending double play. However the runner at second was ruled safe when the infield umpire stated that the fielder pulled his foot. Luckily for Boonville, Williams came back and got the next batter on a fly out to right to end the game.
Brady Maltbie took the loss for Rock Bridge by giving up three runs on two walks in the first. Jack Roush then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed two runs on one hit and two walks while striking out four batters. Abram Benson and Zach Hay also pitched two innings in relief for the Bruins.
As for the hitting in the game for Boonville, Ficken went 1-for-1 with a two run home runs and two RBIs while Ben Horst had one single and two RBIs, Dylan Watson one single and one RBI and Tristan Hauptmann with one RBI.
For Rock Bridge, Scrivner had two hits and drove in one run while Spencer Nivens doubled and drove in one run. Towe, Wright, Norris, Benson, Johnson and Mooney also had one hit.
In the JV game, Rock Bridge defeated Boonville 8-2.
The Pirates, dropping to 1-1 on the season, trailed 2-0 after one, 3-0 after two and 8-0 after 3 1/2 against Rock Bridge before rallying back with two runs in the bottom-half of the fourth.
Boonville JV coach Adam Arnette said the JV team really struggled putting the ball in play and the score shows it. “Rock Bridge threw a couple of good pitchers out there, and they were able to overpower us at times,” Arnette said. “They will probably be the best pitchers we face all year. If we can do a better job of doing some situating hitting, and just put the ball in play at times we will improve drastically. Our defense played pretty well and Kellen Brownfield did a great job on the mound in his first appearance as a pitcher. He really filled up the zone and was able to keep the hitters off balance.”
Dylan Barnthouse took the loss on the mound for Boonville by giving up three runs on two hits and four walks in two innings. Kellen Brownfield then came in and pitched three innings in relief and allowed five runs on six hits while striking out three batters.
Clayton Gochenour had the only extra base hit in the game for Boonville’s JV, being a double, while Peyton Keeran had one single.