To be the best, you have to beat the best.
And that’s just what the St. Francis Borgia Regional baseball Knights will need to do Friday afternoon at CarShield Field in O’Fallon.
Borgia (22-7) faced Westminster Christian (29-6) for the Class 4 state title at 1:30 p.m. Friday (after the Weekend Missourian had been produced).
“We’ve got to come out and be aggressive again,” Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff said. “We’re going to need a great-pitched game, play good defense, get some hitting and get some breaks go our way. We’ll lay it on the line.”
After Borgia posted a 5-0 shutout of Helias in the first semifinal Thursday, Westminster Christian blasted Savannah in six innings, 10-0.
The Wildcats traditionally have been a juggernaut. The team gets sons of professional players and usually takes a spring trip to play out-of-state teams.
This year, Westminster Christian defeated teams from Illinois, Colorado and Virginia at the end of March.
While Westminster has a storied tradition, the last state title for the Wildcats came in 2014, a season Westminster Christian was in a district with Borgia.
The Wildcats defeated Pacific for the district title that year, 7-6. The game many people remember was the year before. In 2013, the Wildcats rallied in the bottom of the seventh to beat Borgia at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, 4-3. Westminster Christian went on to win the state title that year as well.
This year, the Wildcats blazed through the state tournament and have outscored the opposition by a 49-3 margin. Wins have come over Clayton and MICDS at the district level and Jennings, St. Dominic and Savannah in the state tournament.
Nicholas Moten started for Westminster Christian and went 5.2 innings, allowing four hits, three walks and two hit batters. He struck out four.
Alex Foppe finished out the game, walking one and getting the last out.
Brennan Orf led the Westminster offense with three hits, including a home run. He also walked twice, scored once and drove in five runs.
Nathaniel Sems and Adam Ebling had three hits apiece.
Westminster’s top hitter through the season, catcher James Obertop, had two hits while Cody Smith and Zachary Gross each had one hit.
Ebling and Blaise Matheny also walked twice.
Borgia’s Joe Schmidt made history Thursday by throwing a no-hitter against Helias. It was the 16th recorded no-hitter in MSHSAA history in a semifinal, championship or third-place game.
The last no-hitter was in the 2018 Class 4 state championship game, when Aurora’s Austin Erickson threw a 2-0 no-hitter win over St. Mary’s.
Erickson allowed one walk and one hit batter. Aurora also made one error. Erickson fanned 10 Dragons that day.
This was the fourth time the Knights have reached the state semifinals and the third time Borgia has advanced to the championship game. Borgia placed second in 1957 and 1975 and technically tied for third in 1976.
In 1957, Ritenour defeated Borgia at Fairground Park in St. Louis, 4-0.
In 1975, the Knights fell to Chaffee in the Class A title game played at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, 7-2 in six innings. The game was shortened due to weather.
In 1976, Borgia fell in the Class A semifinals to Lilbourn (now New Madrid County Central) at Concordia. There was no third-place game. Dixon, which defeated Ash Grove in the semifinals, won the title game over Lilbourn, 11-2.
MSHSAA listed the tournament as being played at Flat River (now Park Hills), but a tip and a check of archives revealed the event actually took place in Concordia.
Borgia already has a state title this year. Adam Bell won the Class 4 110-meter high hurdles last Saturday at Washington High School.
Borgia’s last team state championship came in 2013 when the volleyball Lady Knights won the Class 3 state title.