Returning to the site of their 2019 Class 4 state championship victory, the St. Francis Borgia baseball Knights won a thriller Thursday.
Borgia (12-6, 4-1) conquered AAA Large Division foe O’Fallon Christian (8-9, 1-5) in 10 innings, 9-6, at CarShield Field.
The teams ended regulation tied at 4-4, but continued to go back and forth in the extra frames, trading runs in both the eighth and ninth innings.
“We had a heck of a game with Christian,” Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff said. “It was full of momentum shifts. There was a lot of strategy at play from both teams. Definitely a gray hair-inducing game.”
Christian led early, scoring one run in the first inning and two in the second to build a 3-0 advantage.
Borgia answered with two runs in the top of the third inning and one in the fifth.
Both teams added another run in the sixth inning.
Brayden Mayer tossed the seven regulation innings for the Knights, striking out five. He allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits and three walks.
“Brayden Mayer was solid on the mound,” Struckhoff said. “The strike zone was shifty early, and it cost us. However, once it settled down, Brayden settled in and was effective. Proud of how he handled a tough situation.”
Caleb Kleekamp threw the eighth inning, allowing one run on one hit and striking out one.
Gavin Mueller tossed both the ninth and 10th innings. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out three.
“Gavin came in late to get the win with some good work in the 10th,” Struckhoff said.
Sam Turilli stepped up in the leadoff spot with three hits in the game, scoring once and driving in a run. Mueller also had a big day at the plate with three hits and three runs batted in.
“Sam Turilli and Gavin Mueller led us offensively,” Struckhoff said. “Both put in some good at-bats in big situations. Good to see these guys step up in big ways.”
Isaac Vedder and Mayer both connected for two hits in the game.
Max Meyers and Mueller each doubled.
“Max Meyers had a big double in the sixth to start a rally and had a nice squeeze bunt in the ninth to give us the lead,” Struckhoff said. “Good to see him have some success at the plate.”
Alonzo MacDonald and Sam Heggemann both singled.
Heggemann and Blake Whitlock both scored twice. MacDonald, Vedder, Mayer and Meyers all scored once.
Meyers drove in two runs. Tyler Stieffermann, MacDonald and Heggemann each picked up one RBI.
Stieffermann, Whitlock and Heggemann each walked twice. Vedder and Mayer were both issued one free pass.
MacDonald was twice hit by a pitch. Dane Eckhoff was hit once.
“Although we made two errors, we also made some great plays over the 10 innings,” Struckhoff said. “So far we’ve got only 21 errors as a team in 18 games, which is phenomenal at the high school level.”
The Knights are next scheduled to play Tuesday at Hermann City Park against the Bearcats starting at 4:30 p.m.