While St. Clair threatened to score, Borgia senior pitcher Tony Helfrich kept his shutout streak alive, leading the Knights to a 10-0 baseball victory in five innings over the Bulldogs Saturday at Ronsick Field.
The Bulldogs collected five hits and had runners in scoring position during the game, but Helfrich and the Knights were able to hold the shutout in check.
In five innings of work, Helfrich allowed no runs on five hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.
Helfrich improved to 3-0 on the season. He pitched a no-hitter and a one-hitter in his first two starts. In 15 innings, he has not allowed a run while giving up just six hits.
“St. Clair came out ready to play and it was tight early. They had some opportunities early to take a lead, but Tony worked out of the jams,” said Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff. “Tony didn’t have his best stuff, but it was enough. We played solid defense behind him and he got a couple big strikeouts to preserve another shutout. With St. Clair in our district, we knew this was a big game and we came to play.”
St. Clair (3-11) was unable to get timely hits early in the game to take the lead.
“We had some offense going early, but were unable to drive in any runs,” said St. Clair Head Coach Rob Hauck.
The Knights (9-1) broke a scoreless tie with five runs in the bottom of the third inning.
They ended the game with a run in the fourth and four in the bottom of the fifth.
“We finally got it going in the third inning, putting up five runs. We took advantage of a couple mistakes. I like our mentality this year. When the other team gives us something, we generally jump on it and make them pay,” Struckhoff said. “A couple youngsters, Justin Baylard and John Himmelberg, had good at-bats in the fifth inning and we were able to end the game there.”
Blake Dierking got the start on the mound for St. Clair. After two scoreless innings, he ran into trouble in the third.
Dierking worked four innings, allowing nine runs, four earned, on 12 hits with no walks, one hit batter and two strikeouts.
Skyler Hutchison pitched one-third of an inning before the game ended in the bottom of the fifth. He allowed one run on one hit.
“In the third inning, Borgia had a strong offensive inning and we did not make the plays,” Hauck said. “After that, we had a hard time keeping our heads in the game and mounting a comeback.”
Borgia, which lost to Blair Oaks later in the day, collected 13 hits in the contest against St. Clair.
Grant Eckelkamp, Noah Borgerding, Nathaniel Hillermann (both doubles) and Helfrich each finished with two hits.
Eckelkamp added two RBIs and two runs. Hillermann had two RBIs and one run. Helfrich had one RBI and one run. Borgerding scored a run.
Matt Jones, Mitchell Hammack, Justin Horace, John Himmelberg and Todd Kleekamp each registered one hit. Justin Baylard drew a walk.
Himmelberg added two RBIs and one run. Horace had one RBI and one run. Jones had one RBI. Hammack and Kleekamp both scored a run.
“Once again, we got contributions from a lot of different players,” Struckhoff said. “Hitting is contagious and we really seem to feed off each other up and down the lineup.”
Brenden Murphy (one double) and Austin Gotway each had two hits for St. Clair. Dierking added one hit.
Anna Reed, who’s headed to Jefferson College to play softball, started in right field and batted ninth in the Bulldogs’ lineup. She was 0-2 with two strikeouts against Helfrich, but took some healthy swings.
“It was tough for Anna,” Hauck said. “Her first varsity at-bat and she had to face one of the hardest pitchers we’ve seen all year.”