Eagles Lose to MRH in District Title Game

Mike Mills looks frustrated after being thrown out while running to first base in the fourth inning of the district title game Saturday at Heine Meine Field. The out ended the inning. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Mike Mills looks frustrated after being thrown out while running to first base in the fourth inning of the district title game against MRH on Saturday at Heine Meine Field. The out ended the inning. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Biship’s no-hitter ends Brentwood’s season at 14-5

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

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.”

Blue Devils senior Zech Biship struck out 10 Brentwood batters and walked only three.
Blue Devils senior Zech Biship struck out 10 Brentwood batters and walked only three.

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.

Skylar Sappington pitches for Brentwood in the second inning.
Skylar Sappington pitches for Brentwood in the second inning.
Bradley Jones pitches in the fifth inning.
Bradley Jones pitches in the fifth inning.

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.

Coach Mike Imergoot stands with the Brentwood players before the game.
Coach Mike Imergoot stands with the Brentwood players before the game.

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.

Brentwood assistant coach John Sappington rounds up baseballs after pregame warmups.
Brentwood assistant coach John Sappington rounds up baseballs after pregame warmups.
Assistant coach Elliott Sterett talks with Mike Imergoot in the seventh inning.
Assistant coach Elliott Sterett talks with Mike Imergoot in the seventh inning.

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.

Mike Mills tries to rally his teammates to win the game in the final two innings.
Mike Mills tries to rally his teammates to win the game in the final two innings.

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.

Mike Mills claps after being hit by a pitch to load the bases in the seventh inning.
Mike Mills claps after being hit by a pitch to load the bases in the seventh inning.

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.

Bradley Jones reacts to striking out in the seventh inning.
Bradley Jones reacts to striking out in the seventh inning.

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.

Stephen Suntrup hits a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to score Brentwood's only run.
Stephen Suntrup hits a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to score Brentwood’s only run.

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.”

Mike Imergoot pats Bradley Jones on the back moments after the game ends. It was the senior's final game with the Eagles, though he will play in the Delta Dental All-Star Game.
Mike Imergoot pats Bradley Jones on the back moments after the game ends. It was the senior’s final game with the Eagles, though he will play in the Delta Dental High School All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on June 16 after the Cardinals game.

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.”

Eddie Wright returns a ball to the infield after a base hit in the first inning.
Eddie Wright returns a ball to the infield after a base hit in the first inning.

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.

John Bischoff makes the tag on an MRH player at second base in the third inning.
John Bischoff makes the tag on MRH’s Dan Williams at second base in the third 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.

Eddie Wright attempts to bunt in the third inning.
Eddie Wright attempts to bunt in the third inning.
Bradley Jones glances at first base to see how far off the bag MRH's Jim Smith is in the sixth inning. The next four photos show how Jones's throw to first baseman Mike Mills catches Smith off the bag.
Bradley Jones glances at first base to see how far off the bag MRH’s Dan Williams is in the sixth inning. The next five photos show how Jones’s throw to first baseman Mike Mills catches Williams off the bag.
After his throw to first baseman Mike Mills catches MRH's Jim Smith off the bag, Mills and John Bischoff catch Smith between first and second base and Smith
MRH’s Dan Williams starts to slide into first base where pitcher Bradley Jones awaits to make the tag. Williams was caught between first and second base by Mike Mills and John Bischoff when Jones ran over to cover first.
Bradley Jones reaches to tag Dan Williams as he slides into first base.
Bradley Jones reaches to tag Dan Williams as he slides into first base.
Bradley Jones and John Bischoff (left) are surprised to see that Dan Williams is called safe at first base.
Bradley Jones and John Bischoff (left) are surprised to see that Dan Williams is called safe at first base.
John Bischoff argues with the umpire as Dan Williams stands on first base.
John Bischoff argues with the umpire as Dan Williams stands on first base.
Brentwood players wait near the pitcher's mound while Mike Imergoot questions the umpire about the call at first base.
Brentwood players wait near the pitcher’s mound while Mike Imergoot questions the umpire about the call at first base. The official ruled that Williams slid into first base under Jones’s tag.
Morgan Murphy tries to make contact with a Zech Biship pitch in the sixth inning.
Morgan Murphy tries to make contact with a Zech Biship pitch in the sixth inning.
Charles Jones races toward first base after hitting the ball to an infielder in the sixth inning.
Charles Jones races toward first base after hitting the ball to an infielder in the sixth inning.
Right-fielder Alex Cobb catches a fly ball in the seventh inning.
Right-fielder Alex Cobb catches a fly ball in the seventh inning.
Alex Cobb completes his catch in the seventh inning.
Alex Cobb completes his catch in the seventh inning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s