Thursday was a reason to celebrate for Hannibal soccer's Jack Baumann. Not only did the Pirate forward score a pair of goals in leading Hannibal to a 2-0 season opening win over Canton, but it was also his 16th birthday.
"It was crazy," Baumann said. "When it first went it, I kind of check the sidelines to make sure I wasn't offsides. It wsa just a blur to me."
Baumann put the Pirates on the board early, scoring the season's first goal just 2:02 into the game on an assist from Tyler Thomure. That would be all the Pirates' offense would need. However, Baumann and Thomure teamed up again with 13:25 left in the opening half for the game's second goal of the night.
"I am happy," Baumann said. "But, we can't get too full of ourselves. We have to keep playing."
Hannibal coach Eric Hill expected Baumann to be the Pirates' early season offense.
"We kind of saw that coming in this year," Hill said. "We thought he was going to score some goals for us. He is big time improved from last year and he was a good player for us last year. I think we will see that out of him a lot, and him and Tyler Thomure are working really well together up top and that is a huge lift for us."
Baumann credited his relationship with Thomure.
"We worked a lot last year," Baumann said. "This year in practice, me and him have been on teams a lot and getting the good chemistry going."
The Pirates outshot Canton 13-4 in the first half as Hannibal took a 2-0 lead into the break, despite being called for seven penaltys while Canton was not flagged once in the first half. In the second half, the penalty discrepency continued as Hannibal was flagged nine times as opposed to four called on Canton.
"You could tell that I wasn't happy about it," Hill said. "We play aggressive and we have guys that are bigger than a lot of the guys (Canton) had out there on the field. But, it is over. We try to not get too worked up over it and I probably got a little too worked up over it than I should, because they feed off of that. We just need to play and not let those things bother us."
Overall, Hannibal was called for 16 fouls to Canton's four.
"It was kind of tough to get into a grove at times," Hill said. "Because it did seem like every time we were going in and winning a nice 50/50 ball, we were getting called for a foul on it. Those things are tough, but most of the guys on the team do a nice job of getting up and going on to the next play."
Hannibal even lost a goal from Scott Cockrell because of an offsides call. Hill argued the call with the referee to no avail.
In the second half Hannibal allowed Canton just one shot while outshooting the Tigers 8-1 for a 21-5 advantage on the night. The Pirates nearly had a 2-to-1 advantage on corner kicks as well. Hannibal had six to Canton's one in the first half and finished the night with a 9-5 advantage.
With everything the offense did in leading to the win, Hill was most pleased with the way his defense played.
"We did what we had to do to win," Hill said. "But, the place I was most happy with was the defense. That is the most inexperienced of our postions and the defense played really, really well."
Hill was exceptionally happy with a late-game decision his goal keeper, Raymond Charlton, made on a stop.
"In that situation, he could have come out and tried to grab it and tried to do something with it," Hill said. "But that was the exact right thing to do at that opportunity."
The play in question was when Charlton jumped up and punched the incoming ball away from the goal.
"Raymond had to come out and make a split-second decision." Hill said. "He came out and got that arm up at the perfect time. I mean the timing was perfect on that and not only did he punch it, but he punched it up to about midfield."
The Pirates will continue their three-game opening homestand with a match against Elsberry this afternoon. There is no junior varsity game, so play begins at 5 p.m. at the Veterans Field Sports Complex.