Meridian Star


March 13, 2014

West Lauderdale coach reaches milestone with 13-2 victory versus Richland

MERIDIAN — Jerry Boatner remained composed for the most part, but he couldn’t help but tear up when he thought of his dad.

Boatner and the West Lauderdale High School baseball team topped Richland High School, 13-2, in the Rush Invitational Wednesday night, giving Boatner 1,069 wins — the most in Mississippi high school history.

“First of all, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and I want to thank my daddy (Jim Boatner),” Boatner said after the historic win. “He was so tough on me, so tough on me and I didn’t understand. But he made me the man and the coach I am. I didn’t have the sense enough to know it until he died.”

Win No. 1,069 breaks the previous record set by former Mooreville High School coach Rex Berryman. It comes in year 46 of coaching for Boatner, who said afterward he wishes he could coach baseball 25 more years.

“I just feel blessed to be at West Lauderdale and to coach so many wonderful players,” Boatner said. “I’ve had some great administrators who allowed me to coach my way and didn’t tell me how to run the program. It’s an awesome feeling to be No. 1 at something.”

As for what’s kept him going so long, Boatner said he never grows bored with the game of baseball, and he’s constantly striving to improve his coaching abilities.

“I enjoy every phase of the game except cutting kids,” Boatner said. “I have such a passion for the game, and I can’t wait every morning to go to work. I love working on the field, and I love coaching, even after 46 years. I love studying the game, going to clinics, watching tapes.

“I keep telling folks, I’m better this year than I was last year, and I’ll be better next year, because I’m not satisfied with the knowledge and the way we do things. I’m always trying to get an edge on people.”

Colton McKeithen was the winning pitcher for the Knights, pitching three innings and surrendering two runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. McKeithen’s father, Neil McKeithen, played for Boatner from 1978-81.

“I don’t know how many wins he had back then, but for me to be playing for him now when he gets this milestone, it just feels great to me,” McKeithen said.

West Lauderdale took a 4-0 lead after the first inning and tacked on two more runs in the second inning to go up 6-0. Richland cut the lead to 6-1 in the top of the third, but the Knights tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the frame.

In the top of the fourth, Richland scored its other run of the game, making it 10-2. West Lauderdale scored another three runs in the bottom of the fourth, then the Knights blanked the Rangers in the top of the fifth. The game was called after that due to the 10-runs-after-five mercy rule.

Bryson McRaney took the loss for Richland.

Fred Franklion was 2-for-4 for the Knights, and Daniel Hill finished 3-for-3. Blake Anderson went 4-for-4 with a home run and a double. McKeithen went 2-for-4 with a double, and Will Stokes finished 2-for-4 with two doubles.

“I think the boys wanted it for me,” Boatner said. “They said, ‘Coach, we’ll go get it for you.’ It was one of the best games we played, to be honest with you.”

The Knights (7-0) will return to action Tuesday in their first conference game as they play host to Kosciusko High School.

Text Only
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Local Sports