SPRINGFIELD — Boonville coach Tim Edwards went with his go-to pitcher Friday for the Pirates' first appearance in the MSHSAA State Baseball Championships. Chuckie Jones entered Boonvile's Class 3 semifinal against the Webb City Cardinals at Meador Park with a 10-0 pitching record, his most recent win coming against Excelsior Springs in the Pirates' sectional victory.
But Webb City didn’t let Jones make it out of the third inning, advancing to the Class 3 title game with a 14-3 victory over the Pirates in five innings.
Boonville (21-3) scored all of its runs in the bottom of the first, with first baseman Tommy White hitting a single to center field to score two runs to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
“I felt at that point that the nervousness was going to be gone and we were going to have a good ballgame,” Edwards said.
But before the Pirates could record an out in the top of the third, Webb City (24-5) had scored six runs. By the time Boonville came to bat again, it was beind 11-3.
Jones went to center field after being replaced as pitcher, but when Webb City’s Cameron Beaver tripled to right-center field to lead off the fourth, Jones got a late break on the ball. Had it not been for a good relay throw, Beaver might have had an inside-the-park home run.
Edwards thought it best to take Jones out of the game.
“The heat got to him, and he felt like he was getting dehydrated,” Edwards said. “He didn’t have his burst like he usually has to go get it, so I knew he needed to come out at that point.”
The sophomore pitcher took the loss for the Pirates, allowing nine runs on four hits. In addition, Jones also hit three batters and walked three.
Boonville only had two hits. Jones had a single in the third in addition to White’s first-inning single.
Chance Sossamon earned the complete-game victory for Webb City, walking four and striking out seven. Sossamon went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and was just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
In the other Class 3 semifinal game, St. Dominic defeated Notre Dame of Cape Girardeau 25-8 in five innings. Boonville will play Notre Dame in the third-place game at 10 a.m. Saturday, while St. Dominic will face Webb City for the Class 3 championship at 1 p.m.
Edwards has been in this situation before. In 1999, he coached Northwest Hughesville to a fourth-place finish in the Class 1 championships. So he said he wants losing two straight in the finals to be a one-time occurrence.
“I explained to (the team) how it’s not any fun to go home after losing two,” Edwards said. “Notre Dame had a terrible loss today and gave up 19 runs in one inning. It’s going to be which team wants it more tomorrow.”