Garner paves the way for Boonville in district championship game

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Members of the Boonville Pirates baseball team react after capturing the championship in the Class 4 District 7 Tournament Wednesday night in Ashland.
The Boonville Pirates baseball team captured the championship in the Class 4 District 7 Tournament by beating Wright City 3-0 Wednesday night in Ashland. The Pirates, 16-5 on the season, will move on to the sectional round of the state playoffs on Tuesday, May 25 at Twillman field in Harley park.

Boonville Pirates baseball coach Adam Arnette had no worries as to whether senior pitcher Cody Garner could finish the game Wednesday night against Wright City in the championship in the Class 4 District 7 Tournament in Ashland.

Arnette had several words to describe Garner, which included bulldog and warrior. But in the end, Garner came through just like Arnette thought he would by picking up a complete-game victory against Wright City for a 3-0 victory.

Boonville, improving to 16-5 on the season, have now won nine games in a row and 12 of its last 13. 

The Pirates will move on to sectionals, where they will face the winner of Fatima-Blair Oaks on Tuesday, May 25 at Twillman field in Harley park.

“Cody is an extreme competitor,” Arnette said. “That’s what he does, he goes out there and competes. He’s our emotional leader and that exactly what he did. He took control early and just kept going and going and the guys just jumped behind him and went.”

Garner was definitely on Wednesday night. While improving to 5-1 on the season, Garner struck out five batters and gave up only three hits and three walks in seven innings.

Garner said it was good to come in and get a win. “Baseball is pretty big in Boonville, so it was nice to get a district championship for the team and the community,” Garner said. “Coach asked me to come in and fill the zone. I think I threw something like 75 pitchers through seven innings, but I also credit the defense for backing me up pretty good. I think everybody played a good game all around.”

Wright City was also no slouch after knocking off No. 1 seed and state-ranked Southern Boone on Tuesday in the semifinal round 4-3. Wright City also won its first-round game last Saturday against Fulton 5-4.

Nonetheless, the Pirates came out and showed Wright City they meant business from the start by plating one run in the bottom half of the first on a walk to Peyton Taylor and a RBI-single to right center field by Jamesian McKee. 

Boonville never trailed after that while adding one in the fourth on one hit, one walk and an error by the right fielder, and one again in the fifth on a lead-off single to second by Taylor and a RBI-single to left by McKee to extend the lead to 3-0.

As it turned out, the three runs by Boonville is all that it would need to beat Wright City-who had only three hits in the ball game. 

But even then the Wildcats had their chances while loading the bases in the sixth after two walks and a single to right by Ian Wolff. However, with two outs already in the inning, Garner came back and got the next batter on a fly out to left to end the inning.

Boonville also had a bizarre play occur in the top half of the fifth with one out and one on first after an infield single to short. However, after diving for an attempted bunt by Wright City on the fly ball, Garner threw to first to try and double off the runner. As it turned out, the ball wound up hitting first baseman Saylor Marquez in the head and bouncing into left field-where Cade Schupp quickly scooped up the ball and threw to a kneeling Marquez at first for the double play.

Arnette said he’s never seen anything like that. “Saylor stayed with it even though he got hit in the head with the ball and Cade was right there to back up the throw,” Arnette said. “Luckily, we were able to get the out and complete the double play.”

Boonville also loaded the bases in its half of the sixth after a lead off single to left by Colby Caton and back to back walks to Garner and Schupp. But with two outs already in the inning, Wright City pitcher Jake Mitts came back and got the next batter on a strikeout to end the inning.

The Pirates wound up leaving a total of eight players on base compared to five for Wright City.

Logan Kellner took the loss on the mound for Wright City by giving up three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six batters in 4 1/3 innings. Mitts then came in and pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief and allowed one hit and two walks while striking out one.

As for the hitting in the game, McKee went 2-for-3 with two singles and two RBIs while Taylor, Marquez, Caton and Connor Rhorer added one single each. 

For Wright City, Wolff went 2-for-3 with two singles while Hayden Waters added one single.