Libberts lead Blair Oaks past Boonville in Class 4 Sectional, 6-0
The Libbert cousins did everything they could to move Blair Oaks into the next round of the state playoffs Tuesday night at Twillman field in Harley park.
Wil Libbert, the MVP of the Tri-County Conference as a sophomore, pitched six innings of shutout baseball while striking out 12 batters and giving up only four hits. As for Lane Libbert, the senior shortstop went 3-for-4 in the game with two singles, a lead-off home run in the first inning and three RBIs to lead Blair Oaks past Boonville 6-0.
While the Pirates closed out the season at 16-6 overall, Blair Oaks improved to 26-5.
The Falcons will host St. Charles West in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament Thursday in Wardsville.
Boonville Pirates baseball coach Adam Arnette said Blair Oaks came out and set the tone in the first two innings and hit the ball well.
“I thought Colby (Caton) did a great job on the mound and we played well defensively,” Arnette said. “They just strung together a bunch of hits early and it really came back to bite us in the end. You’ve got to tip your hat to their pitcher, too. He was good today and we just never really strung any hits together. We had a couple of good hit balls, but again, we didn't put anything together and couldn't score any runs.”
Of course it didn’t help that Boonville had only four hits in the game-two of which came in the fourth inning. The Pirates also got their first hit of the game on a lead-off double to left by Kayle Rice in the third inning. Meanwhile, in the fourth, Boonville strung together two hits on a one-out double to left by Saylor Marquez and a two-out infield single to short by Max Eckerle. Then, in the sixth, the Pirates picked up another hit on an infield single to short by Cade Schupp.
Boonville also stranded six runners on base in the game, while Blair Oaks left seven on base.
However it was too much Libbert and Libbert.
Arnette said there is a reason Wil Libbert was the MVP of the conference. “He's got really good stuff,” Arnette said. “He was mixing up speeds on his fastball, he had a good changeup and threw a curveball in there. He was dominant. We wanted to be efficient with our pitches and have a good tempo, and then we wanted to get guys in scoring position. We didn't execute that part of the game very well.”
Of course who knew the first pitch would set the tone for the rest of the game as Lane Libbert led off with a home run to left to put Blair Oaks up 1-0.
The Falcons never trailed again in the ball game while adding five more runs in the second on singles each by Joshua Isaacs, Gavin Wekenborg and Lane Libbert and a two-run home run to deep left center by Reid Dudenhoeffer to extend the lead to 5-0.
Cody Garner took the loss on the mound for Boonville, dropping him to 5-2 on the season. In only two innings pitched, Garner gave up six runs on seven hits while striking out one. Caton then came in and pitched four innings in relief and allowed five hits and two walks while striking out three batters.
In addition to Libbert’s three hits, Blair Oaks also got two hits from Wekenborg, a home run from Dudenhoeffer and a double by Wil Libbert. The Falcons had a total nine players with hits in the game.
For Boonville, Marquez and Rice each doubled while Schupp and Eckerle added one single each.
Although the season came to an end for Boonville, Arnette said the way the team started the first seven or eight games nobody would have guessed that they were in this game. “I thought our team came together and really grew,” Arnette said. “They would do anything for each other and you could see this on the field when they had things going. They were a true definition of a team.”