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Boone closes out banner year with Big 9 Conference win over Central

Bill Lane • Apr 29, 2009 at 12:00 AM

GRAY — This has been a banner season for Daniel Boone’s baseball team. Its seniors went out Wednesday night in an impressive manner.

The Traiblazers celebrated senior night with a six-inning, 12-2 Big 9 Conference win over Sullivan Central.

Robb Hoover’s team put the finishing touches on a 21-6 season, placing second in the conference race after being picked No. 6 in a preseason poll of coaches.

Right-hander Cody Connell pitched his sixth win. Touched for 11 hits, he walked just one batter and had four double plays turned behind him.

Caleb Dishner, Aaron Payne and pitcher Connell each drove in three runs.

Central did manage to limit the hard-hitting Trailblazers to three extra-base hits. On the season, Boone had 73 doubles, six triples and 31 homers while posting a hefty .350 team batting average.

This group of 10 seniors achieved 56 wins over three varsity seasons at Boone.

“They’ve stuck together and been successful all three years,’’ Hoover said. “They’re hungry to do things they’ve never done before. That means being successful in the forthcoming District 1-AAA tournament as well.

“We knew coming into the year these players could swing the bats. It’s been a pleasant surprise the way things have turned out. Our top three pitchers — Cody Connell, Kevin Connell and Nick Jones — have overachieved. Combined, they’ve won 15 games.’’

Central opened the first inning with four hits and threatened to spoil the home team’s closeout game. But Boone turned the tables with a four-run explosion in the bottom of that same inning.

The ’Blazers scored a run in the second and two more in the fourth before capping off the win by plating five in the sixth. Entering the sixth, Boone enjoyed a 7-2 advantage.

Payne led Boone’s 10-hit attack with a 3-for-4 performance, including a pair of doubles. Dishner and Cody Connell got two hits apiece.

Matt Harmon, Cody Hyden and Josh Arnold each had a pair of hits to lead Central (13-16).

“I’ve insisted all year long that in the Big 9 you can’t leave runners on base and expect to win,’’ Central coach Brandon Krantz said. “We’ve battled — that’s all you can do. We’ve had some close losses and I’m proud of this team.

“Boone has a heckuva hitting ballclub. The bottom line is, they’re tough.’’

Central will be hosting the district tournament, beginning Friday night.

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