n Win keeps Mooreville in second place in 1-3A race.
By Jay Tidwell
Special to the Journal
BOONEVILLE - The late innings haven't been friendly to Booneville lately.
And Friday night, Mooreville took advantage of the poor relationship to score eight runs over the last three innings en route to a 9-5 win over the Blue Devils.
"I thought our guys pitched well enough to win the game," said Booneville coach Bo Sandlin, who is in his third season at the Blue Devils' helm. "Of course, (Mooreville) hit the ball well. But we made so many defensive mistakes and that's something that we've been doing pretty consistently all year long."
"I was proud how we got after it, but we just didn't make the plays when they needed to be made."
Mooreville, the Journal's ninth-ranked team, defeated Booneville 9-1 in their earlier meeting on March 2, aided by a complete-game from ace Josh Chism.
The Troopers improved to 16-3 overall and 5-2 in Division 1-3A, good enough for second place in a tight division race.
Chism (8-1) pitched his eighth complete game of the season Friday night, and showed no signs of tiring in the final inning. He struck out two - his ninth and tenth of the night - and made the final out himself on a putout at first.
Then he ran a lap around the perimeter of Harold T.White Field before boarding the bus home.
And Chism dazzled at the plate as well as on the mound. The senior, who both throws and bats right-handed, belted a two-out, two-run home run to straightaway center field in the top of the seventh inning that pushed Mooreville ahead 9-5, and sealed the win.
Chism said he constantly looks for ways he can help his team.
"If we've got runners at second and third, I'm going to try to drive them in," Chism said. "If we've got a runner on first, I'm going to try to move him around. Whatever I need to do."
For a moment, it looked as if Booneville (9-12, 2-5) found what it needed to cast off its late-inning plague.
In the bottom of the fifth, Mooreville intentionally walked Jon Andy Scott and Evan Pounds. Then Tyler Michael sent the next pitch bulleting past third and careening into left field, scoring the two baserunners. Pounds hustled in for the score on a wild pitch, giving Booneville the lead, 5-4. But the advantage was short-lived.
Mooreville regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Tyler Moore - one of two eighth-graders starting for the Troopers - led off with a double to left, and scored when Ben Kingsley sent a triple to deep center. Kingsley scored on a fielder's choice by Cody Franks, giving the Troopers a 6-5 lead.
Kingsley, a sophomore, led off the fifth inning by ripping an inside fastball over the left-field fence just beyond the newly installed scoreboard.
"They're only taking two teams into the playoffs this year," said Kingsley. "And we're trying to get there by hitting the ball and playing good defense."
The win was important for Mooreville in its hunt for a playoff slot under the new format, with only the top two teams in each division advancing to the post-season.
"It's big, and keeps us in second place," said Mooreville coach Rex Berryman, who picked up his 977th career win. "It keeps us in contention. But we've just got to keep winning."
Mooreville 9, Booneville 5
Mooreville 100 032 3 - 9 11 1
Booneville 101 030 0 - 5 6 4
WP: Josh Chism (8-1).; LP: Jordan Ryan
Multiple hits: (M) Tyler Moore, Cody Franks, Josh Chism, Ben Kingsley; 2B: Chism, Chad Armstrong, Moore; 3B: Kingsley; HR: Kingsley, Chism; (B) Tyler Hill.
Records: Mooreville 16-3, 5-2 in Division 1-3A; Booneville 9-12, 2-5