Nothing like going out in style to closeout the regular season.
The Boonville Pirates baseball team took care of that Thursday night while hosting the Marshall Owls, albeit a day late, with another sound pitching performance from Connor Barnes and a two-hit night from Kayle Rice and Cody Garner in a 6-1 victory.
The Pirates, 15-8 on the season, will now gear up for the Class 4 District 9 Tournament in Ashland. As the No. 2 seed behind Helias, Boonville will play seventh-seeded Moberly in the opening round on Saturday starting at 12:45 p.m.
Boonville Pirates baseball coach Adam Arnette said it was great to have a win against a district opponent. “We also had some seniors get in and get good experience who don’t normally see as much playing time,” Arnette said. “They played the whole game and I think they had 4-5 walks between a couple of them so it was really good that they were able to come in and contribute to the win. This was also a good win going into districts because we haven’t played since last Tuesday.”
That mattered little to Barnes. While limiting Marshall to just one hit and one walk over 3 2/3 innings, Barnes also struck out six batters to increase his total for the season to 57. Of course Barnes also extended his career total for strikeouts to 176, surpassing the 153 set last year by Jared Viertel.
Reece Lang also got in a few innings, 2 1/3 to be exact, and allowed one run on two hits while striking out two batters. Then, to closeout the game, Rice pitched one inning and walked two while striking out one.
Arnette said he thought Barnes did a great job on the mound.
“I asked him to be efficient and he was exactly that,” Arnette said. “I think we had a nine pitch first inning and his second inning wasn’t much more. We were kind of using it as a bullpen to prepare him and Reece both for districts so we wanted to limit pitching and they both were pretty efficient in their pitches.”
Barnes threw 45 pitches with 35 being strikes while Lang had 26 strikes in 39 pitches. Rice also had 16 strikes in 30 pitches.
With its fifth straight win since the loss to Rock Bridge back on April 22 by a score of 3-1, Boonville has beaten Mexico, Versailles, Osage, California and Marshall. The Pirates also captured the Tri-County Conference in its first season in that conference at 7-0.
However the Owls had just as much to do with the win as Boonville while giving seven free passes in 6 innings. Defensively both teams were fine with just one error. And while hitting was scarce for both teams, Arnette didn’t seemed to be too worried going into districts.
“I thought we had really good at bats,” Arnette said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say five hits indicate the number of runs we are going to score. Our goal is on base percentage over .400 and they knew that is going to be five runs. Our on base percentage was over that. We had some really good at bats and then we had some where we had great situational hitting. It didn’t result in a hit but it scored runs. Our goal is to get on base and not necessarily the hits on the board.”
Given that Barnes had retired the first nine batters that he faced in 2 2/3 innings, all the Pirates had to do was score a couple of runs to secure the win. They got that in the bottom half of the second after a one out double to center by Peyton Keeran and a ground ball out to third from Peyton Taylor to make it 2-0.
Boonville wasn’t done, though. Although the Owls got their first runner on board in the third after a pitch got away from catcher Dylan Watson on a strikeout, Barnes came back two batters later to end the inning on a called third strike.
The Pirates tacked on four more runs in the third on a two-RBI infield single to second by Cody Garner, a wild pitch for a run and a bases-loaded walk by Carson Campbell to extend the lead to 6-0.
The fourth inning was also interesting as the Pirates came away with nothing after a one-out single to left by Dylan Watson and a two-out double to left-center by Garner, which just barely missed going over the wall by inches. During the double by Garner, senior Malik Brazil was gunned down at the plate on a great throw to end the inning.
Marshall, meanwhile, scored its only run in the top half of the sixth after a one-out double to right by Hollis Makings and a RBI-double to left by Jack Huston.
The Owls also threatened in the seventh after loading the bases with two walks and a single before ending the game on a fly out to right.
Cody Garner finished the game 2-for-3 with a single, double and two RBIs to lead the Pirates. Rice also had two hits to up his average to .407 for the season while Peyton Keeran added a double and one RBI, Dylan Watson with one single and Peyton Taylor and Carson Campbell each with one RBI.
For Marshall, Jack Huston and Isaac Yung each doubled while Hollis Makings and Leyton Crawford finished the game with one single apiece.
Duffin Makings took the loss for Marshall by giving up six runs on two hits and six walks in 2 2/3 innings. Makings also had two strikeouts.
In the JV game, Boonville defeated Marshall 16-6 to closeout the season at 7-6 overall.
The Pirates trailed Marshall 6-4 after 3 1/2 but then sent 12 runs across in the bottom half of the fourth to win by the mercy rule.
“Big innings late offensively closed out the game early,” said Boonville JV coach Greg Hough. “Guys hit the ball well enough tonight and the pitchers worked one inning apiece. Overall good season for the kids. We learned some baseball and had a good time doing it.”
Nathan Platt picked up the win on the mound for Boonville in relief. Axton Nease pitched one inning and gave up two runs on one hit and three walks while striking out two. Cade Schupp then came in and pitched one inning and allowed one run on two hits and one walk while striking out two batters. Then, after Platt pitched one inning and surrendered two runs on two hits and one walk while striking out one, Jamesian McKee pitched one inning and issued one run on two walks while striking out three batters.
Boonville’s JV also out-hit Marshall 12-5, with Harper Stock going 3-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs. Saylor Marquez finished the game with two doubles and three RBIs while Peyton Taylor added two singles and three RBIs, Chris Gross with two singles, Spencer Steakley and Dawson Barnthouse each with one single and one RBI, Landon Williams with one single and Ethan Walker and Jamesian McKee with one RBI each.
Marshall was led by Rowdy Souder, Zach Martinez, Jerome Edward, Seth Messing and Gerald Nomau each with one hit.