Boonville teams gear up for 2021 spring season

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville senior Olivia Gholson attempts to kick the ball past the goalie during practice Monday at the Boonville City Soccer Fields.
Boonville senior tennis player Gabe Greis hits a forehand during practice Monday at the high school tennis courts.
Boonville assistant baseball coach Greg Hough demonstrates the proper way to bunt the ball with player Abram Taylor during practice Monday at the Boonville High School ballfield.

After missing all of the 2020 spring season, Boonville players and coaches alike are just happy to get back on the playing field in 2021.

Practice began for Boonville on Monday, March 1 in baseball, boys and girls track, boys tennis, boys golf and girls soccer. 

Boonville Pirates baseball coach Adam Arnette greeted 38 players in grades 9-12 on the first day of practice at the Boonville baseball field.

While the weather has been more than cooperative the first week of practice, Arnette said the team as a whole has gotten a lot of things accomplished and gotten a lot of work in due to the great weather.

“The first couple of weeks we will be doing everything to be prepared for our first game,” Arnette said. “We have to start building up arm strength to help maintain it throughout the season and to help prevent injuries.”

Although the Pirates will several newcomers in positions this season, Arnette said his team would like to make another run for the conference and be able to complete the season this year.

“I don’t feel like we are starting over, but we have to evaluate some of our guys and figure out some of our strengths and weaknesses,” Arnette said of the 2021 season. “This is typically true for each season, but I feel like it is even more important this year due to the loss of last season.”

The Boonville Pirates baseball team will compete in a three team jamboree on Saturday, March 13 at Liberty Park in Sedalia with Sedalia Smith-Cotton and Warsaw.

The Pirates will officially open the season on Friday, March 19 at home against the Fulton Hornets, starting at 5 p.m.

The Boonville Lady Pirates track team also hit the ground running under head coach Melissa Baker with 25 girls out for the first day of practice.

Baker said with this being a young team, the next couple of weeks the girls will focus on athletic strength and endurance that it will take for the kids to be ready to compete once the meets start.

“We are also introducing the skills needed to be successful in each event and determining which events best suits the abilities of the athlete,” Baker said. 

The Lady Pirates track team will open the 2021 season in a tri-meet at California on March 25, starting at 4 p.m.

In addition to having a young team this season, Baker said the Lady Pirates are just looking to improve each and every track meet, both individually as a team. “We want to set goals and break them,” Baker said. “We also want to be competitive and show grit in each event.”

Baker added that it feels different, though, after losing a track season. She said it definitely puts more pressure on this year’s seniors to compete at a high level. As far as preseason goes, she said, the training is similar but they just have to get the kids into track shape.

Boonville boys track coach Ryan Lyons welcomed 20 athletes on Day 1 of practice and 24 on the second day. 

“Now that basketball is over, we anticipate a total of 27-28 athletes to compete for us this spring,” Lyons said.

Lyons said the first-two days of practice were very good. He said even though the Pirates lost several athletes from last year through graduation, transfers and ineligibility, the ones who are out right now have amazing attitudes and are working hard. 

“The rest of this week we will continue to be boot-camp-style get-in-shape workouts,” Lyons said. “Next week our athletes will begin to specialize more (jumpers, hurdlers, and pole vaulters doing sprinters’ work first, then their specific events); distance runners and throwers will work with their coaches from start to finish.”

As for the goals this season, Lyons said this is definitely going to be a rebuilding year. 

“Having said that, both I and the other members of the coaching staff see great potential and lots of PR’s coming this season,” Lyons said. “Improvement is the only thing I will care about this season. The good news for my boy’s program is that most of our athletes are underclassmen, so our future looks bright.”

As for the Boonville Pirates tennis team, head coach Ryan Brimer said he has the perfect number out with 16 players and only four courts.

Brimer said the first-two days of practice were great because of the weather but it was also nice to be back on the courts after missing last year.

“The next couple of weeks will seem like a whirlwind,” Brimer said. “We will get in everything from the basics to doubles play.”

The Boonville Pirates tennis team will open the 2021 season on March 22 at Osage. 

Brimer said as far as goals this season, it’s tough without having a season previously to base it off of, however, based on what I think last year would have been like I think a solid goal would be to be competitive every match. “We are bringing back two projected starters but competitive tennis will be new to most of our team,” Brimer said.

With missing all of last year, Brimer said it’s basically all brand new but tennis is one of the sports that could be played over the quarantine. “I think a lot of guys have been out to the courts before we even started,” Brimer said.

Boonville Pirates golf coach Rob VanderLinden with 10 golfers out this season and all 10 new to the game, the first-two weeks of practice will be used to go over basic fundamentals and etiquette of the game.

“All 10 have been enthusiastic and have stayed after practice to get better,” VanderLinden said. “We will use this next-two weeks to go over fundamentals and prepare them for a 9-hole match. My goal with such a young team this spring is to become competitive in every match.”

The Boonville Pirates golf team will open the 2021 season on the road against Fulton on March 22.

VanderLinden said last year with four seniors and four freshmen by not having the season that prevented the underclassmen from gaining experience.

“When we play our first match this year, it will be the first for all of them,” VanderLinden said. “This will be a rebuilding year for the golf program.”