Carver Black Sox - Booden

Jacob Booden struck out five of seven batters faced, earning the save for Carver in a state-clinching victory over Brownton Aug. 8.

Carver needed a ninth-inning rally to walk-off Brownton for a spot in the Class C State Tournament in the 2018 Region 7C Tournament.

In the 2019 state qualifier Aug. 8 in Cologne, the Black Sox scored twice in the fifth inning, getting the final seven outs from hard-throwing 6-foot, 9-inch Jacob Booden in a 4-2 win over Brownton.

Carver joins Young America and Cologne as state qualifiers from Region 7C. A fourth team, the winner of (7) Winsted and (9) Green Isle, will join on Friday, Aug. 9 in Cologne.

After a 34-year absence from state, Carver has now qualified three consecutive seasons. In 2017, the Black Sox reached the final 16, its best finish since 1983

Unlike the 2018 clincher, the fireworks came mostly in the middle innings. Brownton's last gasp coming in the seventh inning, runners in scoring position with two outs.

Booden, who turns 29 next week, came in to shut the door. A strikeout of Ryan Grams ended the seventh inning. Five total strikeouts, seven up, seven down, save earned for the first-year Black Sox.

"You come in, you have to throw strikes first and foremost. You give your team a chance, and you hope the guys behind you make the play. I come in with the same mindset I've always had, and that's to attack hitters, force them to put the ball in play. If they swing and miss, great. If they don't, the defense is behind me," Booden said.

Booden threw 108 innings over four seasons between Rookie and Single-A ball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 2012 through 2014. The Vernon Hills, Illinois, native, played collegiately at Bradley University, ending his career tied for third in program history in appearances.

He moved to Carver three years ago from south Florida, needing a break from baseball. Through some mutual friends, Booden was convinced to join the Black Sox roster.

"I needed a reset. A break from it all. To be able to find fun in it all again. Andrew Weber and Sam Warner knew someone I used to work with. I needed a little convincing. More or less, it was not about hurting myself. I'm not in game shape anymore. There's a lot of miles on my arm," Booden said.

His ideal time on the mound has been perfect in a closer role. The save against Brownton was the sixth of the season. He's thrown a total of 26 innings, having allowed four runs with 55 strikeouts.

Dominating, imposing, lethal, all of the above.

"You don't really pay attention with what's going on around you. You go out there with a purpose. When there's a less pressure situation, maybe I hear the other bench. It gets pretty funny. I'm aware of my stature on the mound. If guys are intimidated, that's fine. If not, that's fine as well," Booden said.

Carver took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning, Andrew Weber helping his own cause with a lead-off triple. After a RBI-single from Kyle Dalton and a hit from Cole Kirchoff, David Dolan's fielder's choice extended the lead to 4-2.

The Black Sox opened the scoring in the third inning, a Bailey Melz double followed by a two-out hit from Kirchoff at 1-0.

After a Brownton run in the fourth inning, Carver retook the 2-1 lead on a Bryce Tuma walk and a double into the gap off the bat of Mark Ulrich, who like Melz was making his post-season debut in the batting order.

Brownton tied the game at two in the fifth inning, a stellar play from Dalton at shortstop keeping the Bruins to one run in the frame.

Weber allowed six hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings for his ninth win of the season. In addition to inducing double plays in the third and fourth innings, Weber picked off a runner at first base.

Carver plays in a seeding round at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at home at Woody Swanson Field versus the winner of Winsted and Green Isle. The loser is the fourth seed with the winner moving on to the next round at 3 p.m.

Young America and Cologne meet in the winners bracket final at 10 a.m. Saturday. The loser stays at the field and plays at 3 p.m. with the winner in the driver's seat for the top spot out of Region 7C.

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