Will host No. 2 Westminster Christian Academy in a quarterfinal game starting at 5 p.m.
After nearly three hours of baseball along with great pitching, excellent defense and timely hitting, the Boonville Pirates baseball team finally looked no further than their seniors to get the job done in the ninth.
Although the underclassmen came up big time after time earlier in the ballgame, it was the seniors that made it happen in the ninth with three crucial hits to pave the way for Boonville in a 6-2 win over Lutheran St. Charles in a Class 4 Sectional game at Twillman field in Harley park.
The Pirates, 23-1 on the season, will now advance to the quarterfinal round on Thursday against No. 2 Westminster Christian Academy at Twillman field in Harley park starting at 5 p.m.
Of course it wasn’t easy for Westminster Christian Academy, either. They won 7-4 in their sectional game against John Burroughs to improve to 29-2 on the season.
Boonville Pirates baseball coach Fred Smith said this is why you play the game.
“I told the kids just keep fighting and battling back,” Smith said. “Their two runs were two single home runs so I told them we will put an inning together. We did a good job of getting deep in the pitch count. They had two pitchers get up near 100 pitches so we had some good at bats late and strung some hits together. We are very fortunate to move on.”
Better than the alternative.
With a total of 17 hits in the game and just one error in nine innings, neither team wanted to give an inch when it came to runs. And for the first inning and a half, it looked like both teams would struggle to score.
However, in the bottom-half of the second, Lutheran St. Charles broke the ice with a solo home run to left center by senior Joe Langston to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
Langston would also come up big for Lutheran St. Charles in the fourth with his second home run of the ballgame just on the other side of the scoreboard to make it 2-1.
As for Boonville, they had to scratch and claw for every run they got while leaving one runner on in the first and going down in order in the second. However, in the top-half of the third, the Pirates tied the game at 1-all with a one-out single just over the second basemans head by Carson Campbell and a double to left center by Connor Barnes.
Then, after the home run to center by Langston to put the Cougars up 2-1 in the fourth, Boonville once again rattled the bats two innings later in the sixth with one run on the lead-off single to right by Dylan Watson and a RBI triple to right by Trae Williams to tie the game at 2-all.
Smith said the frustrating part is that in the sixth his team had the bases loaded and had a chance to tack on more runs.
“I thought we had chances all night,” Smith said, “but again give a lot of credit to them. They had two guys throwing probably mid 80s and late breaking curveball and change-ups but like I said that’s why we are here at this time of the year because everybody is a quality team.”
Although the Cougars escaped without any further damage, the Pirates may have also dodged a bullet three innings earlier when Connor Barnes made snared a line drive fully extended with runners on second and third to end the inning.
Lutheran St. Charles also had two on with two outs in the seventh before a Reece Lang induced fastball for a flyout to end the inning.
Meanwhile, in the eighth, the Pirates had a great chance to take the lead after a one out walk to Williams and a hit batter. Unfortunately for Boonville, the Cougars had other ideas while closing out the inning on a strikeout.
Then, after a 1-2-3 inning by Lutheran St. Charles in the bottom half of the eighth, the Pirates manufactured runs the good old fashion way in the ninth after a lead-off walk to Ethan Waibel and a two-out intentional walk to Dylan Watson.
Smith said the seniors then came through with two big hits when Ben Horst smashed a single to left for a run to make it 3-2. Then, after another walk, Avery Reardon came up big again with a two-RBI single to left to extend the lead to 5-2.
Senior Samuel Wiser then closed out the inning with a RBI-single to right to push the lead to 6-2.
“Avery hit was huge, but that’s what you want your seniors to do,” Smith said. “Ben drove in the run to break it to get us the lead and then Avery kind of iced the game and drove in a couple there. That was the second hit he had on the night and that is what you like and expect our of your seniors.”
Lang worked his magic in the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning to end the game after three hours to earn the win and improve to 5-0.
Jared Viertel got the no decision after pitching 6 2/3 innings and giving up just two runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. Lang then came in and pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief and struck out three batters.
For Lutheran St. Charles, Brody Roach took the loss by pitching four innings in relief of starter Sam Hurayt. Hurayt gave up just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out six batters. Roach, meanwhile, issued five runs on five hits and six walks while striking out three.
Avery Reardon also had a big night at the plate for Boonville, going 2-for-4 with a single, double and two RBIs. Connor Barnes was 2-for-5 with a single, double and one RBI while Trae Williams added one triple and one RBI, Ben Horst and Samuel Wiser each with a RBI-single and Dylan Watson and Carson Campbell each with one single.
For Lutheran St. Charles, Langston went 3-for-4 with a single, two home runs and two RBIs. Zack Floyd finished the game with two hits with a single and a double while Josh Barclay doubled and Hurayt and Kyle Rudloff each singled.