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Helfrich, Eckelkamp Head to Rockhurst for Baseball

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:00 am

They were teammates at Borgia and at Post 218.

Now, Tony Helfrich and Grant Eckelkamp are trying to become teammates once again at Rockhurst University.

The Borgia graduates committed to play this summer with Rockhurst. Helfrich signed with the school while Eckelkamp has been granted preferred walk-on status.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Helfrich said. “When I first heard the offer, I was trying to keep it cool, but it was pretty tough to do. I’ll admit that.”

Eckelkamp’s situation worked out during the summer as well.

“I’m excited to play. I’m going to be a preferred walk-on, so I’m not going to get a scholarship,” Eckelkamp said. “That will make me work harder to get money for the future.”

And the pair will be roommates in Kansas City.

“It will be fun rooming with Tony,” Eckelkamp said. “It will be a good time. It will bring some comfort to playing there. We have shared experiences and hopefully build from that and win some ballgames there.”

Both players were key cogs in very successful teams. They won state titles as members of the Post 218 Senior Legion team last summer and led Borgia to the cusp of an upset against eventual Class 4 state champion Westminster Christian Academy in the district finals.

Helfrich tossed a gem against Westminster for six innings before the eventual state champion rallied to win the contest.

Former Major League pitcher Andy Benes, a coach with Westminster, pulled Helfrich aside after the game.

“He just said he was in tears for how hard I worked and how it had to end up like that,” Helfrich said. “He told me to keep my head up and have some confidence. He said every pitcher goes through rough times. He said he wanted to help me and gave me his number. He asked me if I wanted him to contact any schools.”

Soon after that, attention in Helfrich picked up considerably.

“I would like to think Andy Benes was helping out but he said he hadn’t contacted anybody,” Helfrich said. “I guess it was just the schools started to recognize and hear about how I did during the season and in the last game.”

Helfrich had a dominant high school season, going 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA over 45 innings. He allowed 31 hits and seven walks while striking out 52 batters.

“I’m going to remember that for the rest of my life,” Helfrich said. “We really came together as a team. We started out on top and kept improving. We showed everyone what kind of potential we had in the last game. Even though it didn’t go our way, we showed everyone the type of team we could be. I think the state championship game was played at Ronsick Field.”

Helfrich also batted .348 and played outfield when he wasn’t pitching. But Borgia’s leading hitter for the season was the leadoff shortstop, Eckelkamp.

“My senior year was just awesome,” Eckelkamp said. “Giving Westminster a run for their money was one of the best moments I had at Borgia. Winning the Four Rivers Tournament was pretty big because I didn’t know what kind of team we had. After that, I knew we had something special.”

Both were key players on the 2012 Washington Post 218 Senior Legion team which won the state championship.

“Definitely winning state last year and going to New Orleans was one of my favorite memories,” Eckelkamp said. “That was a good time.”

Helfrich agreed.

“That team also was great,” Tony said. “That was one of the best teams talent-wise I’ve ever played on. Winning state and going to Louisiana was a great experience for all of us.”

While the 2013 Post 218 team fell in the Zone Tournament championship game to Jefferson City, both had a great run with summer teams.

Eckelkamp closed out as one of Washington’s top batters and he found other ways to get on base. He was hit by pitches 23 times this season.

“I just like to get on base,” Eckelkamp said. “That’s what a leadoff guy is supposed to do. Maybe it provides a little spark for our guys. You’ve got to be mentally tough and just get on base. I wink at them every once in a while. Maybe that makes them throw at me!”

Helfrich was shut down due to an elbow injury, but still filled a role while playing outfield for Post 218.

“This year, we didn’t lose many people,” Helfrich said. “That’s a great thing. We had a great record and great chemistry. We had more pitchers coming back and that’s great to have.”

Helfrich came up to the varsity team at Borgia during another district run. As a sophomore, he helped the Knights win a Class 3 district title.

“That was quite the experience getting pulled up my sophomore year,” Helfrich said. “When I got to start my first game and I stayed up the rest of the season, it was incredible. Seeing how far we got that year made it even more special.”

Helfrich also saw action on the football field for the Knights and was a key member of Borgia’s 2011 team which went 12-1.

“Going 12-1 my junior year was a highlight,” Helfrich said. “I think we disappointed some people this past season (going 4-6). We had all of the potential but we just couldn’t live up to it. I have no regret playing. It was such a great experience playing football all four years.”

Eckelkamp sees his role at Rockhurst as playing in the middle infield. Helfrich hopes to pitch.

“I would like to study engineering or pre-med,” Eckelkamp said. “I’m still trying to decide between those two.”

Helfrich indicated he hasn’t made up his mind what to study yet.

“Right now, I want to pitch,” Helfrich said. “I don’t know what they want me to do. I don’t know what I want to study yet, but I’ll figure that out in the next couple of years.”

Both players acknowledged many others who have helped them over the years.

“None of this would have been possible without some of my grade school coaches like Coach Mauntel, my dad and my siblings,” Helfrich said. “They were always there for me to play catch with. It goes to show you that with hard work, you can always be better. I would like to thank my family and all of my teammates along the way. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without them.”

Eckelkamp agreed.

“I want to thank all of my coaches and my parents for getting me this far,” Grant said. “Hopefully I can have a good year in college.”

/

Area Scoreboard

Boys Basketball

Monday, Jan. 26

^Rock Bridge 79, Northwest 27

^Lutheran South 76, Hillsboro 43

Owensville 41, Hermann 40

St. James 80, Montgomery County 39

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Jackson 65, Pacific 44

^Borgia 82,  Union 61

~Warrenton 69, Chamois 24

^Washington 49, St. Clair 45 (OT)

~Wright City 51, New Haven 37

*Bethel at Crosspoint    7:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

^Northwest vs. Hillsboro   5:30 p.m.

~Chamois vs. New Haven    6 p.m.

~Warrenton vs. Wright City    6 p.m.

^Union vs. St. Clair    7 p.m.

~Hermann vs. Montgomery Co    7:30 p.m.

~Owensville vs. St. James    7:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 30

^Rock Bridge vs. Lutheran South    5:30 p.m.

^Borgia vs. Washington    7 p.m.

*Providence at Crosspoint    7:30 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

^Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

~Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

^Consolation    4 p.m.

~Consolation    4 p.m.

^Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

~Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

^Championship    7 p.m.

~Championship    7 p.m.

^Union Tournament

~Hermann Tournament

Monday, Feb. 2

New Haven at Silex   5:30  p.m.

Fulton SA at North County Christian    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Whitfield at Union    4 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Fulton SA    6:30 p.m.

Pacific at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Fulton SA at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Rivers of Life at Crosspoint    7 p.m.

Wellsville at New Haven     6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

*Union at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific at St. James    6 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Mary’s    6:45 p.m.

*St. Clair at Sullivan    7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 9

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Feb. 10

*St. Clair at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Union    5:30 p.m.

Rock Bridge at Borgia    7:15 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Owensville at New Haven   6 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Monday, Jan. 26

^Holt 60, Pacific 57

^Warrenton 42, Union 40

~Owensville 64,  Montgomery Co 32

Borgia 62, Cardinal Ritter 41

^St. Clair 64, Lutheran South 45

~Hermann 57, Wright City 26

Washington 74, Wentzville Liberty 19

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Fulton SA at Barat    4:30 p.m.

~New Haven 42, Montgomery Co 34

*Bethel at Crosspoint    6:15 p.m.

~Chamois 61, Wright City 20

Wednesday, Jan. 28

^Pacific 62, Union 59 (OT)

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    5 p.m.

^Lutheran South 54, Wentzville Liberty 40

~Owensville 54, New Haven 24

^Warrenton 51, Holt 44

~Chamois 50, Hermann 45

^Washington 54, St. Clair 31

Thursday, Jan. 29

*Borgia at Notre Dame    6:45 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 30

^Seventh-place game — Union vs. Wentzville Liberty   4 p.m.

~Consolation — Montgomery Co. vs. Wright City    5 p.m.

^Consolation — Pacific vs. Lutheran South    5:30 p.m.

*Providence at Crosspoint    6 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    6 p.m.

~Third-place game — Hermann vs. New Haven   6:30 p.m.

^Third-place game — St. Clair vs. Holt   7 p.m.

~Championship — Owensville vs. Chamois   8 p.m.

^Championship — Washington vs. Warrenton    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 2

#Borgia vs. Patriettes    4 p.m.

#Cardinal Ritter vs. Union    5:20 p.m.

De Soto at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at North County Christian    6 p.m.

#Washington vs. Parkway South    6:40 p.m.

Chamois at New Haven    7 p.m.

#Helias vs. Troy    8 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

*Crosspoint at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

#Washington-Parkway South loser vs. Helias-Troy loser    4 p.m.

#Borgia-Patriettes loser vs. Cardinal Ritter-Union loser    5:20 p.m.

#Washington-Parkway South winner vs. Helias-Troy winner    6:40 p.m.

#Borgia-Patriettes winner vs. Cardinal Ritter-Union winner    8 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Pacific at St. James    6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

Barat at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

*Rivers of Life at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7

#Seventh-place game    noon

#Consolation    1:30 p.m.

#Third-place game    3 p.m.

#Championship    4:30 p.m.

New Haven at Elsberry    5 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 9

*Hermann at Union    5:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    6 p.m.

*St. Dominic at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Feb. 10

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

^Washington Tournament

~Hermann Tournament

#Borgia Tournament

Wrestling

Tuesday, Jan. 27

*Pacific 42, St. Clair 33

Borgia 36, Hallsville 30

Helias 66, Borgia 21

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Borgia at Lutheran St. Charles    5 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

Union at Farmington/Summit    5 p.m.

*Pacific at St. James/Owensville    5:30 p.m.

Washington at Seckman    6 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    TBA

Friday, Jan. 30

St. Clair at Potosi/Festus    5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

Pacific at Hazelwood East Tny    9 a.m.

Monday, Feb. 2

Borgia at O’Fallon Christian    5 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Washington at Pacific    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Borgia at AAA Tny    TBA

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Pacific at Union    6 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7

Washington at Seckman Tny    9 a.m.

St. Clair at Francis Howell Central Inv    9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Pacific at Parkway Central Tri-Meet    5 p.m.

Girls Swimming

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Timberland 140, Washington 96, Ft. Zumwalt East 87

Thursday, Jan. 22

Oakville 120, Washington 115, University City 9, Mehlville 6

Saturday, Jan. 24

Washington 91, Borgia 80

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Washington 122, St. Charles West 46

Thursday, Jan. 29

Washington at Affton/Lutheran South    4:15 p.m.

Borgia at St. Dominic    8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Washington at McCluer North    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Borgia at MICDS/Duchesne (Rec-Plex)    8:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Borgia at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Thursday, Feb. 12

Borgia at AAA Meet    TBA

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

*Conference Games

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