T-Birds tumble to Hallsville in third-place game at Fulton Baseball Tournament

The Thunderbirds were plagued by four errors, resulting in four unearned runs, in falling to the Indians 9-5 in the third-place game of the 20th-annual Fulton Tournament on Friday.

North Callaway (13-8) put itself in a fast hole by committing three errors during Hallsville’s four-run outburst in the top of the second inning. Senior starter Nate VanBoening, though, got all of those runs back and tied the game at 4-all with one swing when he launched a grand slam in the Thunderbirds’ half of the second.

Another North Callaway error in the third allowed the Indians to tally two runs and regain the lead for good. The Thunderbirds pulled within 6-5 on senior second baseman Tanner Murphy’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning, but that would be the last of North Callaway’s scoring.

Hallsville (10-8) added two runs in the fourth and one in the seventh to seal the victory.

VanBoening finished 2-for-4 as the Thunderbirds ended up with eight hits. Junior first baseman Paul Zerr was also 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while freshman catcher Wyatt Branson went 2-for-4 with a double. Murphy finished 1-for-3 and junior center fielder Brandon Hagedorn was 1-for-4.

“Both teams hit the ball hard, but theirs found the holes and ours didn’t,” North Callaway head coach Kevin O’Neal said. “We’ll get another shot at them on Monday.”

VanBoening went the distance in dropping to 2-2 on the season. He surrendered the nine runs — only five earned — on seven hits, struck out five and issued three walks.

The Thunderbirds will try to avenge the loss when they play at Hallsville at 5 p.m. Monday.

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