What started out as a positive Friday for the Boonville Pirates baseball team quickly went to the dark side while dropping two games Saturday in the Central Missouri Baseball Tournament at Liberty park in Sedalia.
While putting up six runs on 11 hits and getting another solid pitching performance from senior Connor Barnes in a 6-0 win over Warrensburg, the Pirates found out on Saturday that it can turn fast. But it’s how the Pirates lost both games that will forever be entrenched into their heads while giving up 28 runs on 20 hits and 10 errors in a 16-5 loss to Holden and a 12-1 defeat to Grain Valley.
“We knew we were going to see good competition and we would have to be at our best to compete,” Arnette said. “We didn't consistently do that, and the results show. We have got to do a better job with the fundamentals across the board. We need to make the routine plays behind our pitchers, and do a better job situational hitting at the plate. This upcoming week we look to make a couple of adjustments and to get our minds right.”
The players definitely had their minds right on Friday against Warrensburg while playing  error free and finishing with 11 hits.
Barnes was also his usual self. Although the walks were a little high for six innings, the senior hurler still finished the game with 11 strikeouts while giving up five hits to improve to 2-1 on the season. Trae Williams then came in and pitched one inning in relief and allowed one hit while striking out one batter.
Arnette said that’s what he expects from Connor. “He is going to go out and be a bulldog for us on the mound,” Arnette said. “He is going to fill it up, he is going to mix up speeds and he is going to have batters off balance and that’s exactly what he did for us today. He really led us on the mound and shut them out the whole game.”
Of course the offense and defense weren’t too bad, either. While finishing the game with a season-high 11 hits and a season low 0 errors, the Pirates also scratched together a few runs along the way. After pushing across one in the first on a RBI-double to right by Dylan Watson, Boonville came back and tacked on two more in the second on a two-RBI single to left by Peyton Keeran. Meanwhile, in the sixth, the Pirates added three more runs on RBI singles each by Josh Polk and Trae Williams. The other run came on a overthrow by the catcher.
As for the hitting in the game for Boonville, Watson went 2-for-3 with a single, double and one RBI. Keeran had two hits and two RBIs while Williams and Polk added two hits and one RBI, Lane West also with two hits and Barnes with one hit.
Arnette said from top to bottom the batters did a good job. “I thought we did a lot better job at the plate and had better approaches,” Arnette said. “We looked like we were trying to get the job done with whatever situation we were in and that’s what we have been working on the last couple of days. It feels good to put two games together in a row, where we had solid performances against Southern Boone and Warrensburg.”
Of course that went right out the window less than 24 hours later against Holden.
Holding Reece Lang back for the last game that day against Grain Valley, Arnette went with sophomore Cody Garner in the game against Holden.
As it turned out, Garner got a valuable lesson while giving up six runs on six hits and one walk in three short innings. He also struck out five batters to drop to 1-1 on the season.
The defense also struggled against Holden while committing six errors. Add it up and it’s no wonder the Eagles led Boonville 3-1 after two, 6-1 after three and 11-1 after four before tacking on four more in the fifth and one again in the sixth.
As for the Pirates, they had one really good inning by pushing across four runs in the bottom half of the fifth.
“We really struggled to get anything going at the plate and failed to make plays,” Arnette said. “It's like we have been saying all year, we have to do the little things right. This was one of the times we did not do that on both sides and the results show it.”
Arnette also used a total of five pitchers in the game against Holden. Lane West threw one inning in relief and gave up seven runs on one hit and four walks. Axton Nease threw 1/3 inning and allowed two runs on two hits and two walks. Nathan Platt then came in to closeout the game and threw 1 2/3 innings and issued one run on one hit and two walks.
As for the hitting, which saw the Pirates drop off a little bit with eight hits, Saylor Marquez went 1-for-3 with a single and two RBIs. Keeran and Carson Campbell each had one hit and one RBI while Williams, Barnes, West, Peyton Taylor and Clayton Gochenour each had one single. Watson also drove in one run.
In the final game against Grain Valley, the Pirates again struggled early on while giving up nine runs in the first inning.
Boonville scored its only run of the ballgame in the top half of the half on a fly out to right by Garner to score Watson from third.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, it was too little too late as Grain Valley would go on to plate one in the bottom half of the second and two again in the third to win by the mercy rule.
Reece Lang took the loss on the mound for Boonville, dropping him to 1-2 on the season. In three innings, Lang gave up 12 runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out three batters.
“Reece struggled to find a groove in the first inning,” Arnette said. “They came out swinging the bats well and put a crooked number up in the first inning. Trae Williams came in relief and threw a scoreless fourth inning for us. He has been extremely efficient all year. At the plate, we struggled against their starter, and looked lost at the plate at times.”
Williams pitched one inning in relief for Lang and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out one batter.
The hitting also went south against Grain Valley as Boonville managed just four hits in five innings. Williams went 1-for-2 with a triple while Keeran, Watson and Marquez each had one hit. Garner also drove in one run.
The Boonville Pirates baseball team will try to get back on track on Tuesday in a non-conference game on the road against Clinton starting at 5 p.m. Then, on Thursday, the Pirates will travel to Eldon for a Tri-County Conference game starting at 5.