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Helfrich, Eckelkamp Head to Rockhurst for Baseball

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:00 am

They were teammates at Borgia and at Post 218.

Now, Tony Helfrich and Grant Eckelkamp are trying to become teammates once again at Rockhurst University.

The Borgia graduates committed to play this summer with Rockhurst. Helfrich signed with the school while Eckelkamp has been granted preferred walk-on status.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Helfrich said. “When I first heard the offer, I was trying to keep it cool, but it was pretty tough to do. I’ll admit that.”

Eckelkamp’s situation worked out during the summer as well.

“I’m excited to play. I’m going to be a preferred walk-on, so I’m not going to get a scholarship,” Eckelkamp said. “That will make me work harder to get money for the future.”

And the pair will be roommates in Kansas City.

“It will be fun rooming with Tony,” Eckelkamp said. “It will be a good time. It will bring some comfort to playing there. We have shared experiences and hopefully build from that and win some ballgames there.”

Both players were key cogs in very successful teams. They won state titles as members of the Post 218 Senior Legion team last summer and led Borgia to the cusp of an upset against eventual Class 4 state champion Westminster Christian Academy in the district finals.

Helfrich tossed a gem against Westminster for six innings before the eventual state champion rallied to win the contest.

Former Major League pitcher Andy Benes, a coach with Westminster, pulled Helfrich aside after the game.

“He just said he was in tears for how hard I worked and how it had to end up like that,” Helfrich said. “He told me to keep my head up and have some confidence. He said every pitcher goes through rough times. He said he wanted to help me and gave me his number. He asked me if I wanted him to contact any schools.”

Soon after that, attention in Helfrich picked up considerably.

“I would like to think Andy Benes was helping out but he said he hadn’t contacted anybody,” Helfrich said. “I guess it was just the schools started to recognize and hear about how I did during the season and in the last game.”

Helfrich had a dominant high school season, going 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA over 45 innings. He allowed 31 hits and seven walks while striking out 52 batters.

“I’m going to remember that for the rest of my life,” Helfrich said. “We really came together as a team. We started out on top and kept improving. We showed everyone what kind of potential we had in the last game. Even though it didn’t go our way, we showed everyone the type of team we could be. I think the state championship game was played at Ronsick Field.”

Helfrich also batted .348 and played outfield when he wasn’t pitching. But Borgia’s leading hitter for the season was the leadoff shortstop, Eckelkamp.

“My senior year was just awesome,” Eckelkamp said. “Giving Westminster a run for their money was one of the best moments I had at Borgia. Winning the Four Rivers Tournament was pretty big because I didn’t know what kind of team we had. After that, I knew we had something special.”

Both were key players on the 2012 Washington Post 218 Senior Legion team which won the state championship.

“Definitely winning state last year and going to New Orleans was one of my favorite memories,” Eckelkamp said. “That was a good time.”

Helfrich agreed.

“That team also was great,” Tony said. “That was one of the best teams talent-wise I’ve ever played on. Winning state and going to Louisiana was a great experience for all of us.”

While the 2013 Post 218 team fell in the Zone Tournament championship game to Jefferson City, both had a great run with summer teams.

Eckelkamp closed out as one of Washington’s top batters and he found other ways to get on base. He was hit by pitches 23 times this season.

“I just like to get on base,” Eckelkamp said. “That’s what a leadoff guy is supposed to do. Maybe it provides a little spark for our guys. You’ve got to be mentally tough and just get on base. I wink at them every once in a while. Maybe that makes them throw at me!”

Helfrich was shut down due to an elbow injury, but still filled a role while playing outfield for Post 218.

“This year, we didn’t lose many people,” Helfrich said. “That’s a great thing. We had a great record and great chemistry. We had more pitchers coming back and that’s great to have.”

Helfrich came up to the varsity team at Borgia during another district run. As a sophomore, he helped the Knights win a Class 3 district title.

“That was quite the experience getting pulled up my sophomore year,” Helfrich said. “When I got to start my first game and I stayed up the rest of the season, it was incredible. Seeing how far we got that year made it even more special.”

Helfrich also saw action on the football field for the Knights and was a key member of Borgia’s 2011 team which went 12-1.

“Going 12-1 my junior year was a highlight,” Helfrich said. “I think we disappointed some people this past season (going 4-6). We had all of the potential but we just couldn’t live up to it. I have no regret playing. It was such a great experience playing football all four years.”

Eckelkamp sees his role at Rockhurst as playing in the middle infield. Helfrich hopes to pitch.

“I would like to study engineering or pre-med,” Eckelkamp said. “I’m still trying to decide between those two.”

Helfrich indicated he hasn’t made up his mind what to study yet.

“Right now, I want to pitch,” Helfrich said. “I don’t know what they want me to do. I don’t know what I want to study yet, but I’ll figure that out in the next couple of years.”

Both players acknowledged many others who have helped them over the years.

“None of this would have been possible without some of my grade school coaches like Coach Mauntel, my dad and my siblings,” Helfrich said. “They were always there for me to play catch with. It goes to show you that with hard work, you can always be better. I would like to thank my family and all of my teammates along the way. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without them.”

Eckelkamp agreed.

“I want to thank all of my coaches and my parents for getting me this far,” Grant said. “Hopefully I can have a good year in college.”

/sports

Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    7 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    7 p.m.

*St. Clair at Union    7 p.m.

*Pacific at Sullivan    7 p.m.

*Hermann at Owensville    7 p.m.

Ash Grove at St. James    7 p.m.

Cuba at Brentwood    7 p.m.

*St. Charles West at Warrenton    7 p.m.

South Callaway at Wright City     7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Softball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    5 p.m.

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    3:30 p.m.

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News