Any concerns that Boonville Pirates baseball coach Fred Smith had about the week-long layoff were put to rest Thursday night at home against the Moberly Spartans.
Having last played on March 22nd against Class 5 Rock Bridge, Smith was hoping to carry that momentum the Pirates into a series of three games against Hannibal, Marshall and Moberly. However with the weather being less than cooperative, the games against Hannibal and Marshall were postponed until another date.
Needless to say the week long lay off did little to help the Pirates in the first-two innings. But after shaking off the cobwebs, Boonville finally got back to playing Pirate baseball when senior Kole Ficken put the team on his back in the third by smashing a three-run home run to left for a four-run inning.
Boonville never trailed after that while tacking on two more in the fourth and four again in the fifth en route to a 10-1 victory.
The Pirates are now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the NCMC but now face their biggest test of the season by going on the road to face the Kirksville Tigers on Monday starting at 5 p.m.
“I thought first of all that Jared Viertel set the tone and came in and threw strikes,” Smith said. “All of those guys filled the zone tonight, so I was real pleased with the pitching. Offensively, we still have some work to do. We left some people on base but I thought the top half of the lineup hit the ball well. Ethan (Waibel) had a great game leading us off and ran the bases extremely well like he has been doing all year. Avery (Reardon) got a couple of hits tonight. Kole (Ficken), at the 3 spot, hits another jack and drives in three runs early so all in all I’m pleased but there are always things we can work on. Big win here. However, we go on the road Monday to Kirksville, which is another big ballgame.”
Thursday’s game was also big for senior Jared Viertel, a Crowder College commit. After fanning five batters in his first out against Fulton, the right-handed hurler came back with a season best seven strikeouts against Moberly. Viertel, now 2-0 on the season, has 12 strikeouts in just six innings of work with one walk for a perfect ERA of 0.00.
Reece Lang also had another effective outing. After capturing meet medalist honors on the golf course Tuesday and Wednesday, Lang worked two innings against Moberly and struck out three batters while giving up one run on two hits. Kellen Barnes and Mason Hage then came in for some mop up duty in the sixth and seventh to closeout the game.
Boeding took the loss for Moberly by giving up four runs on six hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.
The Pirates also had plenty of chances early on  against Moberly. With runners on base in every inning except the sixth, Smith was less than happy after learning a total of nine runners were left on base in the game.
“We have to work on that,” Smith said. “Like I said there are still some things we need to work on to get better, but the weather is not helping us out. We felt like we had some momentum after the big win over Rock Bridge but it’s been basically a week since we got to play.”
Whether it was the lay off or cold weather, the Pirates stranded two in the top half of the first after a lead off double to right center by Waibel and a walk by Reardon. Then, in the second, Boonville again left two on after a walk by Ben Horst and a hit batter.
But that was all a moot point after Ficken’s three run home run in the third, his second of the season. After a lead off double to left center again by Waibel and a walk by Reardon, Ficken hit his team-leading second home run of the season and seventh RBI in three games. Ficken’s home run was also the first at the high school ballfield.
The Pirates weren’t done in the inning, though. After a double to right center by Horst and a Moberly error, Connor Barnes picked up his third RBI of the season with a single to center to extend the lead to 4-0.
Boonville would add two more runs in the fourth on four walks and a single by Reardon to make it 6-0. Then, after Moberly scored its only run of the ballgame in the top-half of the fifth on back to back doubles, the Pirates came back and broke the game wide open with four runs in the bottom-half of the inning on one hit, one walk and two errors to go up 10-1.
Waibel, Reardon and Ficken each had two hits in the game for Boonville. Ficken went 2-for-4 with a single, home run and three RBIs. Waibel had two doubles while Reardon added two singles and one RBI.
Horst also doubled in the game while Barnes singled and drove in two runs. Trae Williams also had one single and one RBI while Dylan Watson drove in one run.
For Moberly, Boeding went 2-for-3 with two singles. Kitchen, Wetrich and Price each doubled.
In the JV game, Boonville defeated Moberly 4-0 in three innings.
The Pirates, improving to 2-1 on the season, scored two runs in the first and then added one run in each of the second and third innings for the win.
Cale Fox picked up the win on the mound for Boonville by striking out three batters in three innings. He also walked three.
Boonville JV coach Adam Arnette said Fox did a great job on the mound. “He went up there and threw strikes and trusted his defense to make plays behind him,” Arnette said. “Offensively we had a couple guys swing the bat well. I was worried about our timing since we have been inside for the last week. Peyton Keeran had a great game by collecting two hits and Russell Potter looked great at the plate as well. One thing I would like to see us improve on is cutting down our strikeouts. If we could do this and put the ball in play more, good things will happen.”
Boonville finished the game with five hits in three innings against Moberly, with Keeran going 2-for-2 with a single and a triple. Potter and Kellen Brownfield each had one double while Peyton Taylor finished the game with one single and one RBI.