Eagles Put Hawks on Ropes, Then Get KO’d

Skylar Sappington (left) is greeted by teammates (from left) Stephen Suntrup, Bradley Jones and Jim Smith after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning to put Brentwood ahead of Valley Park on Wednesday at Brentwood Park. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Skylar Sappington (left) is greeted by teammates (from left) Stephen Suntrup, Bradley Jones and Luke Tilton after hitting a home run in the third inning to put Brentwood ahead of Valley Park on Wednesday at Brentwood Park. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

But 2nd place league finish is improvement on last year

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

The Valley Park baseball team and its fans made a lot of noise during its 17-4 victory over Brentwood last Wednesday. After all, there was a lot at stake. The Hawks were only one game ahead of the Eagles in the South Central AA Conference and it was the final league contest of the season for both teams. With a win Valley Park would take the title outright. A loss would mean sharing it with Brentwood.

So there was a lot of cheering from the Valley Park dugout, especially in the fifth inning when the Hawks put the game out of reach by scoring 10 runs. At one point a Hawks coach ordered his players to stop shouting negative comments about Brentwood players. That prompted a Valley Park fan to shout, “They [Brentwood] don’t shut up when they’re beating us by 30 in basketball. Why should we?”

Bradley Jones pitches to Valley Park in the third inning.
Bradley Jones pitches to Valley Park in the third inning.

But Valley Park didn’t cheer for the entire game. Though they arrived at Brentwood Park with all the confidence that comes with being ranked No. 3 in St. Louis, having routed the Eagles 13-3 several weeks earlier, and having their pitching ace John Sisler on the mound, the Hawks’ dugout was dead quiet for a couple of innings, thanks to Skylar Sappington.

Brentwood trailed 3-1 in the third inning when John Bischoff and Charles Jones got on base. After working the count to three balls and a strike, Sappington braced himself for the next pitch.

“It’s three-and-one, he has to throw a strike,” said Sappington. “So I was just thinking fastball and it was right in my spot.”

The 6-foot-1 sophomore swung hard and a piercing crack sounded from his aluminum bat. The ball sailed over the fence in centerfield near the 340-foot mark. It was his second homer of the season.

“My first home run this year, I wasn’t sure it would go out,” he said. “But this one I was sure. It was definitely out.”

After rounding third base, a smiling Skylar Sappington heads home to make the score 4-3 in the third inning.
After rounding third base, a smiling Skylar Sappington heads home to make the score 4-3 in the third inning.
Skylar Sappington (right) taps batting helmets with Charles Jones at home plate after hitting his second home run of the year.
Skylar Sappington (right) taps batting helmets with Charles Jones at home plate after hitting his second home run of the year.

Sappington’s three-run homer put Brentwood ahead 4-3 and seemed to inspire his teammates. Pitcher Bradley Jones came out and made quick work of Valley Park hitters in the fourth, shutting them out for the third inning in a row. But then came the disastrous fifth, when the Eagles went from leading 4-3 to trailing 13-4.

“We started to get the momentum but then we had one bad inning and that just changed the whole game,” said Sappington. “I don’t think the score reflected the actual game.”

Three more pitchers followed Jones — Seth Winkleman, Sappington and Morgan Murphy — and nobody seemed capable of taming the Hawks’ bats. Combining for eight hits, 11 runs and seven RBIs were Brice Bube, Jackson Walker, Sam Rhoads and Austin Schmidt. One culprit was errors — BHS committed seven of them.

Seth Winkleman pitches in the fifth inning.
Seth Winkleman pitches in the fifth inning.
Morgan Murphy pitches to Valley Park in the seventh inning.
Morgan Murphy pitches to Valley Park in the seventh inning.

Meanwhile, Sisler got into a groove and shut down Brentwood for the final four innings. In all, he gave up three earned runs in seven innings, struck out seven and walked only two.

Standing out offensively for the Eagles, Sappington had three RBIs, Charles Jones two hits and Bischoff a hit and a run.

The Class 2 District 4 playoffs are this week (see below). Last year Brentwood lost to Maplewood in the district title game.

Before the Eagles’ last game, they joined Valley Park on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s list of top 10 best baseball teams from small schools in the St. Louis area. BHS is ranked 10th.

Before the Valley Park game, Bradley Jones is honored as Brentwood's only senior. He stands here with his mother.
Before the Valley Park game, Bradley Jones is honored as Brentwood’s only senior. He stands here with his mother.

South Central AA Conference
Final standings
Valley Park, 8-0
Brentwood, 4-2
Crossroads, 3-3
Hancock, 2-6
Bayless, 1-7

Alex Cobb chases a fly ball in the outfield in the first inning.
Alex Cobb chases a fly ball in the outfield in the first inning.

Upcoming games
District playoffs at Hancock:
May 19, BHS vs. Lift for Life or Cleveland, 4 p.m.
May 20, 4:30 p.m., if win on May 19

Class 3, District 4 seeding:
1. Brentwood, 13-4
2. Maplewood-Richmond Heights, 11-10
3. Hancock, 9-14
4. Lift for Life, 3-4
5. Cleveland NJROTC, 2-6
6. Carnahan, 3-10

Brentwood catcher Stephen Suntrup tags out a Valley Park baserunner at home plate in the first inning.
Brentwood catcher Stephen Suntrup tags out a Valley Park baserunner at home plate in the first inning.

Brentwood’s record is 13-4
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: lost 17-4 vs. Valley Park, LP B. Jones

To see the team’s website, click here.

John Bischoff gets on base in the first inning.
John Bischoff gets on base in the first inning.
John Bischoff slides safely into home plate in the first inning, scoring Brentwood's first run.
John Bischoff slides safely into home plate in the first inning, scoring Brentwood’s first run.
Mike Mills gets a hit in the first inning.
Mike Mills gets a hit in the first inning.
Center fielder Eddie Wright  catches a Valley Park fly ball in the first inning.
Center fielder Eddie Wright catches a Valley Park fly ball in the first inning.
Brentwood head coach Mike Imergoot coaches third base in the third inning.
Brentwood head coach Mike Imergoot coaches third base.
Charles Jones dives safely back to first base in the third inning.
Charles Jones dives safely back to first base in the third inning.
Charles Jones braces to receive a throw at second base.
Charles Jones braces to receive a throw at third base as a Valley Park runner jumps back to safety.

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