Up until last night’s game against Southern Boone, Boonville senior pitcher Reece Lang had worries about his release point much less his strikeout ratio against opponents.
That was put to rest as the Jeff Co. signee had perhaps his best outing through four starts by striking out a season-high 11 batters in a 4-0 win over Southern Boone.
Lang, 1-1 on the season, looked comfortable through the first-five innings by giving up just one hit-an infield single by Sam Stichnote in the top of the fourth. Lang also walked one batter before giving way to Connor Barnes, who pitched the final two innings for the save. Barnes struck out three batters and one walked.
While the win improved Boonville’s record to 3-5 overall and 2-0 in the Tri-County Conference, head coach Adam Arnette said Lang filled up the strike zone and had confidence in all his pitches. “I thought Reece did a really good job on the mound,” Arnette said. “I would say it was probably his best outing so far. He looked confident in all of his pitches out there. Honestly, I thought as a team we did a lot better job of hitting with eight hits, and defensively it wasn’t really too bad, either.”
After last week’s 3-2 loss in eight innings against Helias, the Pirates definitely had something to prove against Southern Boone. For starters, the Eagles have been a thorn in Boonville’s side since the fall with wins in football and basketball. This was also a big conference game not to mention a district opponent.
So with everything on the line, the Pirates did just enough to win the game by scoring all four runs in just two innings of play. Boonville also out-hit Southern Boone 9-1 with at least one hit in every inning except the fifth.
But even then it took a while to get the first run across for Boonville. Although the Eagles led off the game with a runner reaching base on an error, Lang was near perfect after that while retiring the next 11 hitters before giving up an infield single in the fourth. Southern Boone had only three runners reach base after that, with Barnes allowing only a walk in the final two innings.
Boonville on the other hand left one runner on in each of the first-two innings but finally got on the board in the bottom half of the third. The first run was a give me by the Eagles after surrendering a lead off single to right by Carson Campbell, who scored on a wild throw to third. The Pirates earned the second run with two hits and a walk. After a base on balls to Connor Barnes, Dylan Watson doubled to left center field to put runners on second and third with two outs. Cody Garner then reached on an infield single to third to score Barnes for the second run.
Despite the 2-0 lead, Arnette was less than happy about his team not getting down the bunt at crucial times in the game.
“That’s been a struggle for us all year,” Arnette said. “Doing the small things right. That’s something that we have been working on and we need to do better at. We also had one baserunning error, too.”
Although two runs would have been plenty to win the game, the Pirates added two more in the fourth to extend the lead to 4-0 on back to back singles by Saylor Marquez and Peyton Taylor and a two-RBI triple to right center by Trae Williams.
That was it, though. Boonville had only one runner reach base for the next-two innings, with junior Peyton Keeran getting a two-out single in the sixth.
Ethan Osborne took the loss on the mound for Southern Boone by giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. Osborne also had seven strikeouts in the game. Keegan Maynard then came in to pitch one inning in relief and allowed one hit.
As for the hitting in the game for Boonville, Marquez went 2-for-3 with two singles. Williams finished the game with one triple and two RBIs. Watson doubled for the only other extra base hit while Cody Garner had a single and one RBI and Peyton Keeran, Barnes, Taylor and Campbell each with one hit.
For Southern Boone, Stichnote had the lone hit with a single.
In the JV game, Southern Boone defeated Boonville 6-4.
The Pirates, dropping to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the TCC, led Southern Boone 4-1 after two but then surrendered three in the fourth and two again in the fifth.
Boonville JV coach Greg Hough said errors defensively led to Southern Boone runs. “Mental mistakes on the base paths equalled big mistakes in the long run,” Hough said. “We had two kids picked off and one kid run into a flyball-double play. Though both pitchers-Platte and Nease pitched fine-just can’t give a team extra outs.”
Nease took the loss in relief for Boonville by giving up five runs-one earned-on two hits and one walk. Nease also struck out six batters in two innings. Platt, meanwhile, pitched the first-three innings and allowed one run on two hits while striking out four batters.
Southern Boone also out-hit Boonville 4-3. The big hit for the Pirates came in the four-run second inning when junior Dawson Barnthouse collected his first hit of the season with a three-run home run to left. Hunter Pethan and Landon Williams also doubled in the game.