Meridian Star

March 12, 2014

Boatner ties all-time record, second game postponed

By Reed DeSalvo \ The Meridian Star
The Meridian Star

— MERIDIAN — West Lauderdale High School coach Jerry Boatner has tied former Mooreville High School coach Rex Berryman for the most wins all-time in the state of Mississippi with 1,068 wins.

Boatner’s squad defeated Raleigh High School, 8-1, Tuesday at Q.V. Sykes Park.

The Knights were slated to play a second contest against Forest High School, but that game was postponed due to rain, putting Boatner’s shot at breaking the record on hold for at least a day.

“It feels good,” said Boatner, who has been a head coach for 46 years, with 41 coming at West Lauderdale.  

West pitcher Blake Anderson earned the win, allowing one run in two innings, while striking out three batters and picking a runner off.   

The Knights (6-0) picked off a total of four Raleigh base runners.

At the plate, Anderson, a Southern Miss baseball signee, scored three times and drove in the first run of the ball game in the first inning after sending a shot over center fielder D.J. Sanders’ head that scored Daniel Hill from first base.

“He’s got so much energy,” Anderson said of Boatner. “He has more energy than all of us. I don’t think I’d be where I am now if it wasn’t for him.

“He’s always on us. Some coaches may take it easy on some days, but not coach Boatner.”

Raleigh (3-2) tied the game in the bottom of the second after pitcher Shemar Page singled up the middle, scoring D.J. Sampson.

But the Knights would dominate from there.

In the fourth, West loaded the bases on two hits and a Raleigh fielding error. The first run scored when Page was called for a balk. Two pitches later, Colton McKeithen crossed home plate on a Page wild pitch. Will Stokes scored on Ryan Lane’s RBI groundout, and the final run of the inning came home following a throwing error by Lions’ third baseman Isaac Dennis.

West added three more runs in the sixth, which was aided by three more Raleigh errors and a hit batsman in the inning.  

“It’s not fun playing in this type of weather,” Boatner said of the game’s rainy conditions. “The weather had an impact on the game, but we had timely hits when we needed them and put some pressure on them. But this wasn’t a typical West Lauderdale game.”

Boatner, who holds the state record with 12 state championships, will have the opportunity to set yet another record at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday with a win when his squad squares off against.

“I’ve been blessed,” Boatner said.  “The good Lord allowed this to happen. He gave me the gift of coaching. There’s so many administrators and players to thank. And my daddy (Jim Boatner, who past away in 1992 at the age of 72), too. I wish my daddy was here. He was tough. He taught me discipline. He taught me not to do a job halfway.

“I am what I am because of him and the good Lord.”