Any coach will tell you that anytime you win your season opener, it’s a good day.
If that’s the case, the Boonville Pirates baseball team had an outstanding day in the chilly temperatures while beating an old NCMC rival Fulton Hornets, 8-5.
Although the Pirates were less than perfect, as they committed three errors and blew a 6-1 lead after five by giving up four runs in the final two innings, head coach Adam Arnette said one thing his team did well almost every inning is that they answered back when Fulton scored.
“I think there was one inning where we didn’t answer back,” Arnette said. “I thought our guys definitely showed some fight and they got in some tough situations and were able to squeeze out of it. They definitely did a good job fight whenever we needed to.”
Of course there were other things that Boonville did well. They out-hit Fulton 10-8 for starters and the pitching, despite the cold, was above par.
Senior lefty Reece Lang picked up the win for Boonville but got help from teammates Connor Barnes and Cody Garner. Lang pitched the first-two innings and struck out five batters while giving up one run on two hits and three walks. Barnes then came in and pitched once Lang’s pitch counted exceeded the limit of 60 pitches. Barnes also returned later in the game for Cody Garner and pitched a total of 3 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and just two walks. Garner, meanwhile, pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits and one walk while striking out one batter.
Arnette said the game plan was to limit pitches since they have games coming up on Monday and Tuesday. “We took Reece out in the middle of the batter because he had reached the pitch limit that we had set for him for the game,” Arnette said. “But as far as the pitchers as a whole, I thought they did a pretty good job. Like I said we have things we need to work on.”
With the temperatures in the high 40s at game time, the Fulton Hornets wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Boonville by pushing across one run in the top half of the first on one walk and two hits.
The Hornets never led again in the ballgame thanks to a four-run second inning by the Pirates, which included a little bit of everything with a hit batter, a bloop single over third and a wild pitch. However the big blow came from the bat of sophomore Peyton Taylor, who rocketed a two-RBI single to right to make it 2-1. Meanwhile, after a wild pitch for another run, junior Peyton Keeran found a hole just behind the third baseman for a RBI-single to extend the lead to 4-1.
“Really not a bad job swinging the bats overall,” Arnette said. “I saw a lot of good contact through the whole lineup but I saw a lot of things we need to work on as well and we do have areas we need to improve on. The main thing is that we competed. We wanted to see them being smart on the base paths but being aggressive. We wanted to see our pitchers go out and throw strikes and just have good at bats and execute when we ask them to do certain things.”
The Pirates tacked on another run in the third on a one-out walk to Dylan Watson and a RBI-single to center by Cody Garner.
Meanwhile, after a scoreless fourth inning, Boonville extended the lead to 6-1 in the fifth despite Fulton turning a double play to end the inning. Of course the run came with much controversy from the Fulton coach, who questioned why the run counted. Lane West appeared to have scored from third before the double play, which started with a fly out to right by Saylor Marquez and a throw to first to get Taylor, who had already rounded second.
Fulton made up for the run and then some by tacking on two more runs in the sixth on one walk and three hits to cut the lead to 6-3.
The Pirates answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the sixth on a RBI-single to center by Carson Campbell and a wild pitch to make it 8-3. Then, in the seventh, Fulton added two more runs on three hits and one error to finish out the scoring.
Arnette said you could definitely tell the team hasn’t been outside a lot. “We just need to get outside and see more reps with baserunning situations and things like,” Arnette said. “If we could execute those things a little bit better I think it puts us in a better position to score more runs. But all in all, I thought it was exciting. It was good to get a win against an old conference rival and a district opponent as well.”
Peyton Taylor and Peyton Keeran each had two hits in the game for Boonville, both of which went for singles. Taylor and Keeran also drove in one run each. Campbell and Garner finished the game with one single and one RBI while Barnes, Watson and Josh Polk each had one single. Saylor Marquez also drove in one run.
For Fulton, Aidan Reid went 2-for-3 with a single, double and one RBI. Woodrow Foster, Joe Hinchie and Jake Moore also has two hits in the game.
Evan Gray took the loss for Fulton by giving up five runs on eight hits and one walk in 3 2/3 innings. He also had four strikeouts.
In the JV game, Boonville defeated Fulton 10-1 in three innings.
The Pirates opened the game with two runs in the bottom half of the first and then sent three runs across in the second and five again in the third. Fulton scored its only run of the ballgame in the top half of the first.
Axton Nease picked up the win on the mound for Boonville by giving up just one run on one hit and two walks in two innings. Nease also had four strikeouts. Nathan Platt then came in and pitched one inning in relief and allowed one walk while striking out three batters.
Boonville also out-hit Fulton 4-1, with Hunter Pethan going 2-for-2 with a single, triple and two RBIs. Kayle Rice had a single and three RBIs while Bryce Harris added a single and one RBI.
Boonville JV coach Greg Hough said he saw some kids come out and compete and do some good things. “We have some JV guys that would start for a lot of varsity teams,” Hough said. “These guys must take advantage of their opportunity to shine. Over the next couple weeks our varsity roster will shake up a bit with more time outside and games. My goal and their goal should be competing and prepared for varsity action. We hit the ball well, had good patient at bats and was aggressive on the base paths. As for the pitching, Nease struggled with some control but gave up one unearned in two innings. Platt was impressive in one inning of work by throwing strikes and attacking batters.”