Brentwood gets top seed in district tournament
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Mike Imergoot is a schoolteacher so you’d think he’d be looking forward to wrapping things up for the summer break. But speaking as the baseball coach at Brentwood High School, he sounds as if he doesn’t want this spring to end.
“We’re having a ball,” he said. “It’s just really an exciting thing.”
He’s excited about his Eagles, who won two more games last week to push their win streak to six and their record to 13-3. They’re in second place in the conference but face Valley Park on Wednesday for a chance to tie for the title. And they’re the top seed in the Class 3 District 4 playoffs to be held next week. They’ll probably end up facing Maplewood for the championship.
It’s hard to tell how far Brentwood can go this year. Though their 13 wins are by an average margin of 11 points per game, they haven’t yet beaten a team with a winning record. Of course, those opportunities are on the way, as Valley Park is 18-3 and MRH is 11-9.
The good hitting and pitching are not coming from two or three superstars. Seven Eagles have from 14 to 24 hits. Five are batting from .395 to .558. Five pitchers have winning records.
“We’ve got some sluggers,” said Imergoot. “Our leadoff guy Charles Jones is a good hitter and our 2, 3, 4 and 5 hitters are sluggers: John Bischoff, Skylar Sappington, Mike Mills and Brad Jones. When they hit the ball, you hear it. You can tell a good hitter when you hear that thing, it’s like a cannon shot off the bat.”
Nobody on the team has been a more complete package than senior Bradley Jones, who recently was named a St. Louis Post-Dispatch Athlete of the Week. As a pitcher he’s 5-0 with a 2.73 ERA. As a hitter he’s slamming .558. Versatile? He’s No. 2 in the league in both RBIs and strikeouts pitched. Though Imergoot had Bischoff pitch to Valley Park in the teams’ first meeting, Jones will be on the mound come Wednesday.
“I’m throwing Brad, our senior,” said Imergoot. “He’s 5-0 and throwing really well. He walks a lot but that’s the way he does it. He’s also been a solid hitter. He’s hit in the low .200s every year and now he’s hitting over .550. He used to be susceptible to curveballs, and mechanically he used to open up his body and pull off a lot. When you pull off, you miss the outside pitches. So we asked him to close his stance a little bit, which keeps his hips and shoulder in so he can’t open up.”
Jones is not the only Eagle who is outstanding at both pitching and hitting. Pitching, Sappington one-hit Bayless and two-hit University City in the same week, both shutouts. He leads the team in strikeouts. Hitting, he’s No. 2 in the conference in runs scored.
The freshman Bischoff’s numbers don’t show it yet but he can be a dominating pitcher. And nobody in the conference has more homeruns than his three.
“We’ve had five homeruns as a team this year,” said Imergoot. “Bischoff hit one in the woods out there and so did Skylar. Bischoff hit one at Whitfield that went over the centerfield fence at 375 feet. Brad Jones pulled one down the line that went about 350 on the first pitch.”
South Central AA Conference
Standings as of May 11
Valley Park, 7-0
May 5: won 11-0 vs. Bayless (5-14), 5 innings
Brentwood rattled Bayless with 16 hits, with four players getting three hits apiece: Mills, Alex Cobb, Morgan Murphy and Stephen Suntrup. Bradley Jones and Mills each scored two runs. Winning pitcher Sappington struck out eight and allowed only one hit.
May 4: won 12-2 vs. Hancock (8-13), 5 innings
BHS scored 10 runs in the first inning alone, so everyone had a good night hitting. Mills had three RBIs. Four Eagles got two hits apiece (Mills, Cobb, Bischoff, Charles Jones), three scored two runs each (Bischoff, Charles Jones, Bradley Jones) and three hit doubles (Murphy, Suntrup, Bischoff). Charles Jones gave up only two earned runs in four innings and Murphy pitched the final inning.
Brentwood’s record is 13-3
April 1: won 11-2 vs. Northridge, WP Bischoff
April 11: lost 10-0 at McCluer North, LP C. Jones
April 14: won 6-5 at Hancock, Crossroads, WP B. Jones
April 15: won 13-1 vs. Bayless, WP Bischoff
April 18: won 20-0 vs. Madison Prep, WP C. Jones
April 18: won 4-0 vs. McCluer South Berkeley, WP B. Jones
April 18: won 21-0 vs. Carnahan, WP Murphy
April 21: lost 13-3 vs. Valley Park, LP Bischoff
April 23: won 17-1 vs. Herculaneum, WP B. Jones
April 24: lost 15-3 vs. Principia, LP Sappington
April 27: won 14-4 at Kennedy, WP B. Jones
April 29: won 16-3 vs. Cleveland NJROTC, WP Murphy
April 30: won 10-0 at University City, WP Sappington
May 2: won 12-6 at Whitfield, WP B. Jones
May 4: won 12-2 vs. Hancock, WP C. Jones
May 5: won 11-0 vs. Bayless, WP Sappington
May 13, host Valley Park, 4:15, senior night
May 14, at Crossroads, 4:15
District playoffs at Hancock:
May 18, BHS vs. Lift for Life or Cleveland, 4 p.m.
May 19, 4:30 p.m., if win on May 18
Class 3, District 4 seeding:
1. Brentwood, 13-3
2. Maplewood-Richmond Heights, 11-9
3. Hancock, 8-13
4. Lift for Life, 3-4
5. Cleveland NJROTC, 2-6
6. Carnahan, 3-10
To see the team’s website, click here.