Closing the regular season with a 3-0 win Wednesday at Sullivan, the Borgia Knights are looking forward to defending their Class 3 District 8 title next week in Fulton.
Borgia (18-7) opens play Saturday at 10 a.m. against eighth-seeded Owensville.
The winner advances to play either fourth-seeded Fatima or fifth-seeded Fulton Monday at 4:30 p.m.
The championship game is set for Wednesday at 6 p.m.
In a showdown of two of the top teams in the area, Borgia got a two-hit shutout from Tony Helfrich to beat the Eagles (14-5), 3-0.
“Tony Helfrich put on a clinic today on the mound,” Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff said. “He pounded the strike zone with a complete game two-hitter on 68 pitches.”
Struckhoff indicated the game started well for Sullivan, but Helfrich came back to shut down the Eagles after that.
“After a lead-off single by Sullivan in the first, he retired 20 straight hitters before giving up a two-out single in the seventh.”
Struckhoff said Borgia’s defense came up with big plays as well.
“Our defense also made some great plays behind him,” Struckhoff said. “Sam Deschenes and Brendan Kleekamp ran down some balls in the outfield. Jack Kopmann and Austin Rettke made a couple of stellar plays on the infield.”
Former Sullivan player Matt Jones started Borgia’s first scoring rally.
After Jones was hit by a pitch, Noah Borgerding tripled to bring Jones around. Rettke then gave Borgia another run.
“Austin laid down a nice squeeze bunt to score Noah,” Struckhoff said.
During the third inning, Kleekamp singled and Grant Eckelkamp followed with a bunt. Kleekamp advanced to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Trent Leimkuehler.
Struckhoff said Kleekamp had two hits in the game and has come around offensively.
“Kleekamp was our leader on offense with two hits,” Struckhoff said. “He really is coming along with the bat over the last few games and that’s great to see.”
Struckhoff complimented Sullivan’s team.
“This was a great way to finish out the regular season going into the district,” Struckhoff said. “Sullivan is a great team and they are going to be a handful for any team in the state playoffs. Both teams gave a great effort on defense and on the mound. We just happened to execute a couple of plays with the bat which made the difference.”
Sullivan is the top seed in Class 3 District 2 at Potosi. Borgia heads to Fulton, where it is the top seed.
“We now are going to focus on Owensville in our district tournament opener on Saturday,” Struckhoff said. “We remember the game Montgomery County gave us last year in the first round so we won’t be looking past anyone. I hate single-elimination for baseball, but we have to deal with what the state gives us.”