It was Matt Jones’ turn to step into the spotlight for the Borgia Knights Monday afternoon.
Jones became the third Borgia pitcher to throw a no-hitter this season when he put down the Trinity Titans in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Showcase game Monday.
The Knights triumphed over Trinity at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, 10-0.
“It was a good time,” Jones said. “Coach wanted me to work on pitching backward, throwing more off-speed than fastballs to give me something to work with for the playoffs.”
“I’m pretty happy with Matt,” Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff said. “He was phenomenal. He had just that one walk. He had the curveball working for strikes and that makes his fastball that much more effective when he can spot that curve for a strike.”
Jones threw Borgia’s third no-hitter, joining Tony Helfrich and Spencer Juergens in that category this season. He also threw Borgia’s eighth shutout of the campaign.
“It’s been a heck of a year,” Jones said. “When we’ve been on, we’ve been on. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes you get lucky.”
In the game, Jones allowed just one walk while striking out 10 Trinity batters over five innings.
“It seems like we need to throw shutouts to win,” Struckhoff said. “It’s our third no-hitter of the year and eighth shutout among our 13 wins, so that’s pretty impressive. And it’s been three different pitchers throwing no-hitters, not just one guy going after it.”
The Knights (13-6) close out the regular season Wednesday at St. Dominic. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Borgia then opens play Monday at 7 p.m. in the semifinals of the Class 4 District 4 Tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field against either Priory or Union. The Knights are seeded second behind Westminster Christian.
“We always take it one game at a time,” Struckhoff said. “In high school, it’s always like the seventh game.”
Offensively, the Knights took the lead in the bottom of the second inning with one run.
Borgia broke through for five more runs in the third, taking advantage of clutch hitting and Trinity mistakes.
In the fourth, the Knights added one run while finishing it out in the fifth inning with three more runs.
“Our offense did good today,” Jones said. “We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but then we got on it. We hit a lot of balls to the outfield and they didn’t make plays. They were good hits.”
Borgia batters had 12 hits in the game with Grant Eckelkamp, Tony Helfrich, Noah Borgerding, Spencer Juergens and Nathaniel Hillermann pacing the team with two hits apiece.
“We hit the ball hard,” Struckhoff said. “We had Noah’s ground-rule double and we plugged the gap a couple of times. We hit some hard balls, so I was very happy with the at-bats.”
Eckelkamp doubled, drew a walk and scored a run.
Helfrich posted two singles and scored twice.
Borgerding had a ground-rule double which went under the outfield fence, one run and two RBIs.
Juergens singled twice, scored once and drove in a pair.
Hillermann doubled, scored twice, drove in one and walked.
Jones singled and drove in a run. John Himmelberg, the courtesy runner for Jones, scored once and stole a base.
Jacob Haskins doubled and scored a run.
Michael Kren drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
“We finally came out hitting the ball,” Struckhoff said. “That’s the rule for our team. That’s the way we can hit.”
Fielding also helped the Knights. Haskins and Eckelkamp made barehanded pickups which turned into outs.
“They did a great job behind me and I’m grateful for that,” Jones said. “G (Eckelkamp) made a couple of great plays, Haskins made a couple of good plays. They did a great job.”
“Haskins and Eckelkamp made some nice plays,” Struckhoff said. “Both had barehand plays. Grant made an impressive play on a short hop off the grass. He took it with two hands, cupped it and made the play. It looked routine, but it wasn’t.”
Nick Moehlenkamp pitched for Trinity, going 4.1 innings to take the loss. Trinity stats had him allowing 10 runs (five earned) on 11 hits and one walk. He struck out two.
The win ended a two-game losing streak. Borgia fell twice Saturday at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., to Lutheran South and Kirkwood.