The Boonville Pirates baseball team could have celebrated its first conference championship Monday night after beating both Osage and California in a doubleheader 3-0 and 5-2, respectively.
After winning three straight conference titles in the NCMC, the Pirates became the first to win a conference title in the Tri-County Conference by finishing 7-0.
Boonville Pirates baseball coach Adam Arnette said it feels pretty good to win the conference.
“The boys are pretty excited about it,” Arnette said. “That was one of our goals to win conference and we did just that. We didn’t necessarily have the best performance at the plate and base running especially was pretty bad, but we found a way to put some stuff together and score some runs.”
The Pirates did just enough in both games while scoring three runs on seven hits against Osage and five runs on 11 hits against California. Boonville hit just .212 against Osage but raised the average to .343 against the Pintos.
For the season, the Pirates are hitting .296 as a team with 167 hits in 564 at bats.
“We had a lot better at bats than we did in the first game,” Arnette said. “We went deep in some counts and had a lot of walks, and definitely took some pitches and looked a lot better. In the first game, we didn’t have a great approach at the plate from top to bottom. We didn’t really put good at bats together like w have the last couple of games and we didn’t reach our goal of our on base percentage so we ran a couple of poles, got our minds right and we definitely turned it around the second game.”
Senior pitcher Reece Lang also did his part in the opener against Osage. While limiting Osage to just five hits in seven innings for the complete game victory, Lang also struck out 11 batters to improve to 4-3 on the season. Trey Rassenfoss took the loss for Osage by giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five batters in six innings.
“Reece has definitely found a groove but he has been pretty consistent this year,” Arnette said. “I think he has had one bad game but other than that he has been around the plate and has had all of his pitches working and has been super effective.”
The Pirates were also super effective in the first inning by pushing across one run on a two-out double to left by Dylan Watson and a single up the middle by Saylor Marquez. But even then it took a wild pitch by the Osage pitcher for Boonville to score its first run.
The Pirates had only two hits for the next four innings as senior Connor Barnes hit a one out single in the third. Junior Peyton Keeran also had a lead off single in the fifth. Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the sixth, Boonville plated two more runs on three hits to extend the lead to 3-0.
Trae Williams led off the inning for the Pirates with a double to left center, followed by an infield single to second by Dylan Watson. However after Williams was picked off third by the catcher, Saylor Marquez came back and doubled to right to score Watson for the second run. Boonville scored the third run on a wild pitch.
That’s all Lang would need in the seventh by inducing two ground balls and ending the game on a double play.
As for the hitting in the game, Saylor Marquez went 2-for-3 with a single, double and one RBI. Dylan Watson also had two hits with a single and a double while Connor Barnes, Trae Williams and Peyton Keeran each had one hit.
For Osage, who dropped to 9-10 on the season, Andrew Bryant went 2-for-3 with a single and a double.
In the game against California, Boonville again got off to a good start with one run in the top half of the first on one walk and a fielder’s choice by Saylor Marquez.
However after both teams failed to score in the second inning, California came back and tied the game at 1-all on a single to left by Clayton Winkler and a RBI-double to left by Gabe Bailey.
Arnette said this game pretty much summed up what the team has been doing all year. “We kind of went stagnant in the middle innings but once we started getting those deeper at bats and seeing some pitches, we started hitting the ball a lot better and the ball started falling.”
The Pirates got it right again in the fifth with two runs on two hits and one walk, which included an infield single to short by Marquez and a ground ball back to the pitcher by Cody Garner to make it 3-1. Then, in the sixth, Boonville plated two more runs on a two-RBI single up the middle by Kayle Rice to extend the lead to 5-1.
California added another run in the bottom half of the sixth on a lead off home run to right center by Lucas Ash to complete the scoring.
Trae Williams picked up the win for Boonville by giving up just two runs on six hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. Williams also struck out five batters to improve to 4-2 on the season. Kayle Rice then came in and pitched 1/3 inning to closeout the game.
Arnette said Williams did a great job. “Trae wanted to go the distance to get that complete game but came up just a couple of pitches short,” Arnette said. “Kayle came on to finish that last batter for him.”
Gabe Bailey took the loss for California by allowing five runs on eight hits and five walks while striking out five batters in 5 2/3 innings.
As for the hitting in the game for Boonville, Peyton Keeran went 2-for-4 with a single and a triple. Rice had two singles and two RBIs while Cody Garner added two singles and one RBI, Carson Campbell also with two singles, Saylor Marquez with one single and two RBIs and Trae Williams and Dylan Watson each with one single.
For California, Winkler went 2-for-4 with one double.