REGIONAL BASEBALL Ulmer shines as Booneville tops Mayflower

BOONEVILLE — Battling back from an ACL injury during football season, Booneville senior Brandon Ulmer has had limited opportunities to play in the outfield this year.

He is making a strong case to change that.

Ulmer, the Arkansas State signee who was playing in the field for only the second time this season, finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a two-run home run and four RBIs. His offensive performance helped Booneville pull away with a 7-3 victory against Mayflower in a first-round matchup at the 3A-2 Regional Baseball Tournament.

“He has played DH all year,” Booneville coach Darby Ulmer said. “We had a doubleheader last week, and he hit three home runs in that game while playing in the field for the first time. He says he can hit better when he is in the field. We are giving it a shot. You feel better in the field and not in the dugout.”

Ulmer’s two-run home run in the sixth inning gave Booneville a 7-3 lead. The deep blast helped answer a Mayflower (13-12) rally that cut the Booneville lead to just 4-3 after five innings of play.

Mayflower found itself down 4-0 after the top of the third inning. The Eagles were able to get their offense going with an RBI from Drake Wilkerson in the bottom of the third.

Mayflower then had back-to-back home runs from Dalton Muse and Logan Funderburg to cut the Booneville lead to just 4-3 in the fifth inning.

Booneville (17-7) answered in the top of the sixth with a three-run frame. A throwing error that could’ve gotten the last out of the inning allowed Gabe Fennell to score. Ulmer, the next batter after the miscue, then hit his two-run home run.

“They hit a couple in a row there and really lifted their spirits,” Darby Ulmer said. “For us to match that and get those runs it, it really helped us with our momentum. Baseball is a game of momentum sometimes. It helped out a lot.”

Booneville was able to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Cam Brashers came home for the first run of the inning, and Ulmer capped the scoring with a two-run double.

Michael Hesson picked up the win on the mound for Booneville. He pitched out of trouble early, leaving the bases loaded twice in the initial three innings. Blakley Cobb helped close out the game getting the final four outs.

“He has really been able to compete and not get his head down when things don’t go right,” Darby Ulmer said of Hesson. “He fights through the adversity on the mound and keeps us in games.”

The victory for Booneville ends the season of Mayflower, makes it a 10-game winning streak and secures a spot in the state tournament.

“I wanted to test us early in the year,” Darby Ulmer said. “We didn’t start out too well. But the kids started to find out how to play well after that. Our kids have really grown up in the last few months. We have been playing well lately.”

Sports on 05/04/2019

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