Biship’s no-hitter ends Brentwood’s season at 14-5
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Sometimes it takes weeks or even months for a coach to accept losing a game he believes his team should have won.
But that isn’t the case right now for Mike Imergoot, whose Brentwood High School baseball team lost 4-1 to Maplewood-Richmond Heights in the Class 3 District 4 championship on Saturday. Even though his team was seeded ahead of No. 2 MRH and had just lost to the Blue Devils in the title game for the second year in a row, he didn’t sound tormented by the loss.
Zech Biship had something to do with that. Maplewood’s senior right-hander threw a no-hitter over seven innings while striking out 10. And he made it look easy, throwing no more than 11 pitches in each of five of those innings.
“Sometimes you just give them credit, that’s what you do,” said Imergoot. “They’re not our enemy. I was out there hugging their pitcher (Biship). He used to hate us. And that’s the best game he’s ever thrown in his life. That kid was phenomenal and you have to recognize that.”
MRH, 13-10, will play West County in a sectional contest on May 26. Brentwood ends up 14-5.
Brentwood’s pitching wasn’t bad either, but it needed to be perfect. Skylar Sappington walked the first two batters in the third inning and the leadoff man in the fourth and the Blue Devils exploited it for two runs. Bradley Jones pitched two scoreless innings but gave up two runs on three hits in the fifth.
“I have one senior and he pitched his heart out today,” Imergoot said of Jones.
But the game was ruled by Biship.
“He had a good low fastball today and his curveball was really nails,” said Imergoot. “He mixed it up very well. He had all our hitters a little bit on our heels with that curveball and when he needed to he had some zip on that fastball. He got it in on us a lot. Some of our younger players can hit average pitching but aren’t as quick with the bat, and when you see a big shot like this pitching, you‘ve got to be quick to the ball.”
Brentwood started a comeback in the seventh inning, loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Stephen Suntrup’s sacrifice fly scored John Bischoff but Biship twice struck out the tying run to stop the threat.
Four runs in the hole
In the third inning Sappington walked the first two MRH batters, Dan Williams and Biship. Zach Siebert singled to score Williams for a 1-0 lead. Sappington walked Gabe Jackson to load the bases with two outs, but then struck out Michael Langston to end the inning.
Sappington continued struggling for control in the fourth inning, walking the leadoff batter Green in four pitches. After stealing second and being sacrificed to third, Green scored on Williams’s single to make it 2-0.
MRH kept hitting in the fifth, despite Imergoot replacing pitcher Sappington with Bradley Jones. Siebert doubled and Jackson singled, though right fielder Morgan Murphy’s quick throw to the infield kept Siebert at third. Jones struck out Langston on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. But then Green singled to score Siebert and Jackson, and Brentwood was down 4-0 with nine outs left.
Starting a comeback
After Jones shut down the Blue Devils in the sixth inning, Mike Mills delivered an urgent pep talk to his teammates in front of the Brentwood dugout. They had six outs to score at least four runs against a pitcher who had shown no weakness.
Biship retired the bottom of Brentwood’s batting order in the sixth to set up his final showdown with the No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters in the seventh. That’s when the Eagles finally started to get to him. Biship walked John Bischoff in five pitches and Sappington in six, then hit Mills with a pitch to load the bases with no outs. The Brentwood crowd came to life.
Next up was Bradley Jones, who was batting .531. and led his team with 26 hits. He’s Brentwood’s only senior and Eagles fans were hoping he could do something to extend his high school baseball career by one game. But of course Biship also wanted his career to continue to the sectional game. He struck out Jones for the inning’s first out.
Next up was Stephen Suntrup, a sophomore whose .256 batting average was less than half of Jones’s. But Suntrup hit a sacrifice fly that scored Bischoff from third. It was 4-1 with two outs.
Alex Cobb stepped to the plate with two men on base. Though just a freshman, he was hitting .408 and in the previous game had contributed three hits, including a double. During Cobb’s at-bat, Biship was called for a balk, which moved Sappington to third base and Mills to second. Brentwood fans cheered, but it would be their last hurrah of the season. Biship pulled himself together and struck out Cobb to end the game.
“Your kids have to realize that losing shouldn’t stay with you long,” said Imergoot. “You should learn from that and be better people for it. This is not a life-or-death situation. We are not dying of cancer. We are playing a game that teaches life lessons: how to be good sports, how to acknowledge good play against you, how to be proud of what you do. And then you can’t do anything but feel good about it.”
Though Brentwood and MRH did not play each in the regular season this year, Imergoot said they will in 2016.
“Coach (MRH coach Jonathan Webb) and I talked before the game,” said Imergoot. “We’re going to play them next year. We want to start a new relationship where people don’t hate each other. It happens in too many other sports we play. We need to set the standard and be good opponents.”
May 19: won 22-0 vs. Lift for Life (2-6), 5 innings
Brentwood advanced to the district title game by scoring 21 runs in the first two innings. Cobb had three hits, including a double, and scored three runs. Others scoring three runs apiece were Murphy, Bradley Jones and Charles Jones. Bischoff tripled and Mills doubled. Winning pitcher Charles Jones struck out four and surrendered no hits in three innings. Murphy and Seth Winkleman each pitched an inning.
Brentwood’s final record is 14-5
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
Class 3, District 4 Tournament:
May 19: won 22-0 vs. Lift for Life, WP C. Jones
May 23: lost 4-1 vs. MRH, LP Sappington
To see the BHS team’s website, click here.