For anyone attending the first game at Borgia’s newly renovated baseball field, it was a memorable experience.
However, that was the case mostly for the wrong reasons.
Fans sat through the bitter cold and snow showers to watch the Knights open the season with a 25-7 win over Wright City in the first game of the Four Rivers Classic.
“It was interesting, to say the least,” said Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff. “I haven’t seen a snow game in a long time. Luckily we had the turf. I don’t think we would have played any other place with the snow. It would have been sticking and tacky on a dirt surface. The ball was slick at times. We used a lot of balls with the pitchers though.”
Struckhoff said that conditions were difficult, but the result was worth the work.
“I was happy with our performance and the conditions,” Struckhoff said. “It was hard to stay up, but I’ll take a win any day.”
The Knights played Tuesday afternoon at Owensville in the second pool game. Wright City is scheduled to host Owensville Thursday in the final game of pool action.
“We’ve got to regroup and be ready to go, or we’ll be 1-1 really fast,” Struckhoff said. “Wright City is going to get better. They hit the ball well at times and put some runs on the board too. They had a tough time finding the strike zone and that made the difference in the game.”
For two hours and 18 minutes, the teams fought to find the strike zone and complete the scheduled game in the snow while trying to beat the dusk curfew as the field does not have lights.
The contest ended after the top of the fifth due to the mercy rule.
Borgia scored its 25 runs on nine hits. Wright City also made eight errors.
The Wildcats scored their seven runs on seven hits and took advantage of two Borgia errors.
Each team left eight runners on base.
Both teams took advantage of free baserunners. Wright City pitchers walked 18 Knights while Borgia issued eight free passes.
“It was a little tough on the Wright City pitchers,” Struckhoff said. “We took a lot of walks.”
Most of the game’s highlights belonged to the Knights, who scored three runs in the first, two in the second, 13 in the third and seven in the fourth inning.
“We did good,” Struckhoff said. “We got guys on base and we scored in every inning. We took the lead early and broke it open in the third inning.”
Wright City pushed one run across in the top of the second and scored twice in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
The Knights are playing all of their home games on the renovated field this season.
While the park isn’t new, the infield turf surface is and it became the first high school turf field in Franklin County to host a baseball game. Union also has installed a turf field.
Only the infield at both locations is turf. The outfield still is a grass surface.
Monday’s game yielded many firsts:
• First batter — Wright City’s Chase Jones, who struck out looking against Borgia’s Tyler Murray.
• First baserunner — Wright City’s Troy Muse (via walk) in top of the first;
• First hit — Borgia’s Spencer Juergens singled on a tapper in front of the plate, beating out the throw.
• First run — Borgia’s John Himmelberg walked and scored in the bottom of the first. He crossed the plate five times in the game.
• First extra-base hit — Muse doubled to center field in the top of the third inning.
• First triple — Borgia’s Nathaniel Hillermann ripped a two-run triple to the left field fence in the bottom of the third inning.
• First home run — Borgia’s Justin Horace launched a three-run shot over the left field fence in the bottom of the third inning.
“Horace’s home run was big,” Struckhoff said. “Nate Hillermann also hit a hard shot over the left fielder’s head. We took some good at-bats. They made some errors and gave us some runs.”
• First decisions — Jacob Grellner was the winning pitcher, going three innings in relief of Murray. He allowed four unearned runs on three hits and four walks while striking out one. Dallas Deroy took the loss for Wright City, allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits and six walks with one strikeout.
Murray lasted two innings for the Knights, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out three.
Following Deroy to the hill for the Wildcats were Adam North, Kyle Tuepker and Donnie Burbank.
North allowed six runs (four earned) on three hits and two walks over one-third of an inning. He struck out one.
Tuepker went two-thirds of an innings, allowing nine runs (two earned) on one hit and six walks.
Burbank threw one inning and allowed five runs (four earned) on two hits and four walks.
Offensively, Nathaniel Hillermann, Horace and Justin Baylard each had two hits for the Knights.
Juergens, Todd Kleekamp and Gus Kleekamp posted one hit each.
Horace homered while Hillermann tripled and Gus Kleekamp doubled.
Himmelberg scored five times, reaching four times on walks and once on an error.
Juergens and Hillermann scored four times each. Horace crossed the plate three times. Evan Ayers, Todd Kleekamp and Philip Swoboda each scored twice. Mitchell Hammack, Jacob Wunderlich and Zach Marquart each scored once.
Horace drove in six runs while Hillermann had three RBIs. Baylard and Gus Kleekamp drove home two apiece. Hammack, Wunderlich, Murray and Todd Kleekamp each had one RBI.
For Wright City, Muse led the way with two hits, including a double. He scored once and drove in a run.
Other hits came from Tuepker, Chase Abercrombie, Devin Telkamp, Andrew Pfuhl and Tyler Brittain.
Tuepker scored twice while Jones, Telkamp, Pfuhl and Kyle Lang also scored once.
Jones, Tuepker, Austin Marsh and Brittain also drove in runs.