Victories Friday and Saturday have given the Borgia baseball Knights firm control of the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division race.
Borgia (13-4, 6-0) shut out Duchesne Friday at home, 10-0, and then won at St. Mary’s Saturday, 3-2, to stay undefeated in league play.
The Knights have two remaining division games. St. Dominic comes to Borgia Thursday at 4:30 p.m., and the Knights face Bishop DuBourg next Tuesday at the Affton Athletic Association at 3:45 p.m.
“We are set up now for a showdown with St. Dominic this Thursday,” Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff said. “With us being 6-0 and them at 4-1, this will be a championship game.”
Dedicating the renovated baseball/softball complex, the Knights rolled to victory over Duchesne (4-16, 1-2) Friday afternoon, 10-0.
“We played really well in all three phases,” Struckhoff said. “We got great pitching from Tyler Murray, outstanding defense with a big play by Gus Kleekamp in the sixth and a couple of nice plays from Mitchell Hammack. Up and down the lineup, we hit the ball hard. We’ve been working on that. We don’t have the mashers like we’ve had in the past, but we’re pretty solid in spots one through nine. I’m pretty happy with the way all of those guys came through.”
Borgia scored once in the first, once in the second and added seven runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Knights had the 10th run on third base, but couldn’t score. It didn’t matter though. After a scoreless frame in the top of the fifth, the Knights pushed the 10th run across the plate on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth to end it.
Murray tossed a one-hit shutout. He didn’t surrender a walk and struck out two Pioneers.
“Murray was his usual self,” Struckhoff said. “He doesn’t dominate you by striking you out, but he does dominate you by keeping pitches out of the hitting zone and getting a lot of ground balls. Teams generally don’t hit him very hard. I was proud of his performance.”
Borgia’s six hits came from six different players. Jacob Wunderlich had the biggest hit, a double. He also walked twice and drove in two.
Hitting singles were Kleekamp, Justin Horace, Spencer Juergens, Philip Swoboda and John Himmelberg.
Hammack, Juergens and Swoboda each scored twice. Kleekamp and Himmelberg added one run each.
Kleekamp, Ayers, Baylard, Horace, Juergens, Swoboda and Himmelberg had one RBI each.
Juergens also drew two walks while Baylard, Horace, Swoboda and Himmelberg each walked once.
Kleekamp stole a base and Ayers sacrificed.
Playing in St. Louis, the Knights managed to stay undefeated in the league with a 3-2 win over the Dragons.
“It was a great game for us to pull out,” Struckhoff said. “We held on with a couple of key plays. Justin Horace was able to throw out a runner at the plate in the bottom of the sixth after a double down the right field line. Evan Ayers did a good job hitting his cut on that play. Also, Zach Marquart calmly fielded a ground ball and threw out the hitter for the third out in the seventh with runners on second and third. Just another close game for us this season. Seems like nail-biters like this happen all the time. It’s a good experience for us, though.”
Juergens was on the hill for the Knights.
“Spencer was really good on the mound, again,” Struckhoff said. “He got 15 ground outs in the game. He also had the big two-RBI single in the third to give us the early lead. Justin Horace also had two hits. His two-out RBI single in the fifth was the difference.”
Struckhoff said overall, the Knights struggled defensively.
“Our defense was a little shaky with three errors, but we made the plays when needed,” Struckhoff said.