Was it a baseball game or the Twilight Zone?
Borgia (5-0, 1-0) opened Archdiocesan Athletic Association action Tuesday by trouncing St. Dominic in five innings, 11-0.
“It’s been a long time since we beat St. Dominic,” Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff said. “They are a great program and it was fun to get our first conference win against them. They will get better as the year goes on.”
The Crusaders, normally among the baseball powerhouses in the St. Louis area, fell to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference with the loss.
Borgia didn’t give the visitors any breaks though. Staff ace Tony Helfrich took the ball and followed up a no-hitter against Owensville in his season debut with a one-hitter against St. Dominic.
“Tony Helfrich was outstanding on the mound,” Struckhoff said. “Following up a no-hitter with a one-hitter is phenomenal no matter what level you are playing at. The crazy thing is I don’t think he had his best stuff, but he kept the ball down, threw strikes and let his defense make the plays.”
Helfrich didn’t walk a single batter and struck out two. Only once did St. Dominic put two runners on base. In the top of the fourth inning, back-to-back errors gave the Crusaders a chance, but a double play from Justin Horace to Grant Eckelkamp and then over to Mitchell Hammack ended that threat.
Borgia’s offense made sure the game wouldn’t last beyond five innings.
The Knights took advantage of eight walks in the game and exploded early.
After one inning, Borgia led 3-0. It nearly was 4-0, but the Crusaders won an appeal to get the third out when a runner was judged to have left third base too early on a flyout.
Borgia continued the onslaught with two runs in the second, four in the third and two more in the fourth.
“This was a great team win,” Struckhoff said. “Like any baseball team, solid pitching, consistent defense, and contributions up and down the lineup will win a lot of games. I’m proud of the way this team focuses and plays the game the right way.”
Noah Borgerding was the only Knight with multiple hits. He laced out a pair of safeties, including a double. He scored a run, drove in two and added a walk.
“Noah contributed with a couple hits and RBIs,” Struckhoff said. “He’s been our most consistent hitter so far and I’m sure he’ll keep getting better.”
Grant Eckelkamp doubled, scored twice, drove in three, walked and sacrificed.
“Grant did a great job at the plate and in the field,” Struckhoff said. “He got on base and scored a couple runs for us. That’s what a leadoff man does and I expect he’ll continue this for the rest of the year.”
Nick Jacquin was the designated hitter and he posted one hit with two runs, one RBI, a walk and a sacrifice.
“Nick Jacquin continues to contribute at the plate,” Struckhoff said. “I’m really proud of how hard he’s worked and am happy to see him get this success.”
The other hit came from Mitchell Hammack. He also drew a walk.
“Mitchell Hammack got his first start of the year and had some good at-bats,” Struckhoff said. “He’s got a bright future ahead.”
At the plate, Helfrich added an RBI.
Nathaniel Hillermann walked. Horace walked and scored two runs. Michael Kren walked. Matt Jones walked once and courtesy runner John Himmelberg scored two runs in his spot.
The Knights continued their offensive onslaught Thursday afternoon in Westphalia with a 17-4 win over the Fatima Comets.
Borgia ripped out six home runs, including two grand slams in the game. In fact, half of Borgia’s 12 hits left the park. Struckhoff indicated that the fences were a bit short there, but feels three or four would have been out at any ballpark.
“It actually was closer than that,” Struckhoff said. “It was 5-4 going into the final inning. They knocked us out of the district tournament last year and the guys remembered that.”
Each team scored once in the first. Borgia took the lead with four runs in the third but Fatima got three of those back in the bottom of the inning.
Borgia ended the game early with 12 runs in the top of the fifth and held in the bottom of that frame.
“We hit five home runs in the fifth inning,” Struckhoff said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that.”
Leading the parade around the bases was Hillermann, who launched out two home runs. He scored twice and drove in six runs. Both home runs came in the fifth inning.
Players with one home run each were Borgerding, Helfrich, Jones and Horace.
Borgerding ended with two hits, four runs, three RBIs and a walk.
Helfrich had two this, three runs, one RBI and a walk.
Jones had three hits and added a double to the home run. He drove in three, scored once and walked.
Horace walked twice, scored three times and drove in four runs.
The other Borgia hits came from Eckelkamp (one run) and Todd Kleekamp.
Jacob Haskins walked and scored. Kren scored twice times as a courtesy runner.
“I was happy,” Struckhoff said. “We kept getting the bats on the ball and getting the hits.”
Spencer Juergens started for the Knights and pitched four innings. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and one walk.
Tyler Murray finished out the game, allowing one hit while striking out one batter in the final inning.
The Knights visit Washington at Rotary-Recreational Complex Ronsick Field Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.