Something had to give in a No. 4 versus No. 5 matchup Wednesday night in the opening round of the Class 3 District 15 Tournament in Moberly.
With the winner to face top-seeded Kirksville later that night in the semifinal round, the Lady Pirates knew it was going to be a uphill battle to get past two former conference rivals.
As it turned out, Moberly punched its ticket to the next round with a bases-loaded walk in the bottom half of the seventh to beat Boonville 3-2.
The Lady Pirates closed out the season at 6-14 overall.
Boonville coach Christie Zoeller said it was a good hard-fought ballgame.
“I think early on we were hitting the ball hard but just right to them,” Zoeller said. “We just failed to find the holes when we needed to. We didn’t string hits together and didn't get the bunts down when we needed that to happen.”
The Lady Pirates may have also waited too long to score against Moberly.
The Spartans scored one run in each of the second and fifth innings of play while Boonville scored both runs in the top of the sixth on a RBI-double to left by Emma West and an infield single back to the pitcher by Bryanna Jones to tie the game at 2-all.
Meanwhile, after a scoreless inning in the top half of the seventh by Boonville, the Spartans began to make their move in the bottom half of the inning with a one-out walk by Mary Billington and a single to right by Kenedi Freeman. Then, after Madyson Klostermann received a walk to load the bases, Pulliam worked the count full against Samantha Calvert before issuing a free pass to bring in the go ahead run.
Zoeller said Pulliam pitched a heck of a game leading up to the seventh.
“I know Abby is real shook up right now,” Zoeller said. “They only got four hits off of her and I think she had two walks up until that point. She is a freshman and this is going to be something that sticks with her and she is going to remember what this feels like right now, so I think for her future it's only going to make her stronger and therefore make our program stronger. It sucks to see our season come to an end but I look forward to next year and what we are going to be able to do. Both of the pitchers will be a little more experienced and stronger and I hope to build stamina with them this summer.”
Lauren Koenig picked up the win in the circle for Moberly while Pulliam took the loss for Boonville, dropping her to 3-3 on the season. Koenig pitched all seven innings and gave up two runs on four hits while striking out six. Pulliam, meanwhile, pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits and five walks while striking out six batters.
Boonville also out-hit Moberly 5-4, with Bryanna Jones going 2-for-3 with two singles and one RBI. Emma West doubled and drove in one run while Daylynn Baker and Olivia Eichelberger each had one single.
For Moberly, Freeman went 2-for-3 with two singles and two RBIs. Tara Ginter and Mary Billington each had one hit while Samantha Cavert drove in one run.
In other games in the district, No. 2 Chillicothe beat No. 3 Marshall 12-2 while top-seeded Kirksville upended Moberly in the late game 11-0.
Kirksville and Chillicothe were scheduled to meet for the championship on Thursday.