MRH won district title but teams will get rematch this season
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Just in case Brentwood High School’s baseball players had forgotten how much they hated being no-hit by Maplewood-Richmond Heights in the 2015 district championship, it all came rushing back to them during the recent basketball season. The Eagles lost to the Blue Devils twice in boys hoops, including a season-ender in the district playoffs.
“Beating them is basically what we’ve been thinking about since the first Maplewood basketball game,” said BHS junior Steven Suntrup Jr. “Since that game we’ve been thinking about how we’re going to play them in baseball. Basically, they have a target on their back and we’re going to come after them.”
Brentwood head coach Mike Imergoot doesn’t want his team obsessing about one opponent in a season in which they’ll face a couple of dozen, but he acknowledged that the Blue Devils are motivating his guys. They’ll face off on April 25 and probably again in the May district tournament.
“We owe somebody a district championship and we’re going to fight hard to get it,” Imergoot said. “They [Eagles players] have a little chip on their shoulder. But you’ve got to tip your cap to Maplewood, we got no-hit the last time.”
After winning the district three years in a row, from 2011-13, BHS has lost to MRH in the title game the past two. The Eagles have not won the conference the past three seasons.
Bischoff, Mills healthy
Brentwood’s roster of 13 on varsity and 11 on junior varsity is missing only two starters from the 2015 team, which went 14-5 and took second place in the conference and the district. The biggest shoes to fill will be those of Bradley Jones, who led the team in hits, RBIs, pitching wins (5-1) and strikeouts.
Last year’s other four pitchers return — John Bischoff, Charles “Butters” Jones, Morgan Murphy and Skylar Sappington — with three bonuses. First, starter Mike Mills is in the rotation after not pitching last year due to an injury. Second, Bischoff is healthy. He started strong in 2015 but an injury left him 2-1. Third, Seth Winkleman moves up from JV to throw relief.
“Last year was a difficult season for us pitching-wise,” said Imergoot. “Bischoff and Mills were hurt so I used mainly Bradley Jones, Charles Jones and Skylar. Now I’m deep with starters.”
Said Suntrup, “I think John [Bischoff] will be the most improved from last year. He probably worked the hardest during the offseason because he plays on a select team during the summer and he went to their training facility during the fall and winter.”
Hitters are back
Most of the offense is back as well, with Jones the top returner in runs and stolen bases, Bischoff in hits and triples, and Mills in doubles. Other outstanding hitters were Sappington, Alex Cobb, Morgan Murphy and Suntrup.
“We’re strong hitting, one through seven,” said Imergoot. “That’s in the cages, not live ball. But we’ve had a lot of BP and we’re taking good swings.”
Imergoot likes the team chemistry this year. “We don’t have any malcontents,” he said. “Nobody is going to upset the apple cart. We’re pretty together as a group.”
New faces: Clay, Rujawitz
There are two notable additions to the program. Sophomore Joe Clay, all-state in football, will play center field and also run track. He missed baseball last spring because he was recovering from knee surgery.
A second addition is assistant junior varsity coach Natalee Rujawitz. Hired last summer to teach health and P.E. at BHS, she was a four-year starter in softball at Wren Lake Community College and McKendree University in Illinois. She played mostly third base.
“She knows the sport well and has adjusted to baseball very well,” said Imergoot. “She’s a real asset to the program because she has a good grasp of the skill you need. On the JV level you’ve got to be a good teacher.”
To see the team’s website, click here.
2016 roster by position, with 2015 stats
Mike Imergoot, in sixth year as head coach, 21st year with program
Elliott Sterett, assistant head coach, pitching coach, third year at BHS
John Sappington, assistant varsity coach, outfield coach
Zach Sias, head JV coach
Brooke Fox, assistant JV
Natalie Rujawitz, assistant JV
Tentative starting pitchers
John Bischoff, RH, 2-1, 4.89 ERA, 14.3 innings, 22 strikeouts
Mike Mills, RH, injured, did not pitch
Skylar Sappington, RH, 2-2, 1 save, 3.46, 26.3 innings, 34 strikeouts
Tentative relief pitchers
Butters Jones, RH, 3-1, 3.98, 12.3 innings, 15 strikeouts
Morgan Murphy, LH, 2-0, 3.92, 10.7 innings, 12 strikeouts
Seth Winkleman, RH, 0-0, 2 saves, 3.80, 9.2 innings 6 strikeouts
Stephen Suntrup, Luke Tilton
Imergoot: “Steve’s a guy who wants to play every single minute of every single game. But you wear down and we have a lot of consecutive games this year, packing in 23 games in less than eight weeks. So Luke will play some too.”
Mike Mills, Morgan Murphy
Imergoot: “Mike will not play as much first base because I have so many infielders who pitch and he might have to go somewhere else at times.”
John Bischoff, Skylar Sappington
Alex Cobb, Jonas Heisel, Sam Tilton, Luke Tilton
Imergoot: “He also runs track but baseball will take precedence. He hits well and is very coachable.”
Morgan Murphy, Luke Tilton, Sam Tilton, Alex Cobb
Averages: Morgan, .488; Bischoff, .431; Cobb, .385; Mills, .356; Sappington, .327; Jones, .283; Suntrup, .244.
Runs: Jones, 24; Sappington, 23; Mills, 22; Bischoff, 21; Suntrup, 16.
Hits: Bischoff, 22; Cobb, 20; Murphy, 20; Sappington, 17; Jones, 17; Mills, 16.
RBIs: Sappington, 17; Cobb, 14; Bischoff, 13; Murphy, 13; Jones, 10.
Home runs: Bischoff, 3.
Triples: Bischoff, 4.
Doubles: Mills, 9.
Stolen bases: Jones, 14; Sappington, 7; Mills, 5.
Brentwood’s final 2015 record: 14-5
4/1: won 11-2 vs. Northridge, WP Bischoff
4/11: lost 10-0 at McCluer North, LP C. Jones
4/14: won 6-5 at Hancock, WP B. Jones
4/15: won 13-1 vs. Bayless, WP Bischoff
4/18: won 20-0 vs. Madison Prep, WP C. Jones
4/18: won 4-0 vs. McCluer South Berkeley, WP B. Jones
4/18: won 21-0 vs. Carnahan, WP Murphy
4/21: lost 13-3 vs. Valley Park, LP Bischoff
4/23: won 17-1 vs. Herculaneum, WP B. Jones
4/24: lost 15-3 vs. Principia, LP Sappington
4/27: won 14-4 at Kennedy, WP B. Jones
4/29: won 16-3 vs. Cleveland NJROTC, WP Murphy
4/30: won 10-0 at University City, WP Sappington
5/2: won 12-6 at Whitfield, WP B. Jones
5/4: won 12-2 vs. Hancock, WP C. Jones
5/5: won 11-0 vs. Bayless, WP Sappington
5/13: lost 17-4 vs. Valley Park, LP B. Jones
Class 3, District 4 Tournament:
5/19: won 22-0 vs. Lift for Life, WP C. Jones
5/23: lost 4-1 vs. MRH, LP Sappington
2015 South Central AA Conference
Valley Park, 8-0
3/31: host Bishop Dubourg, 4:15
4/1: at Orchard Farm, 4:15
4/2: Kennedy Tournament — 10 a.m. vs. JFK, noon vs. Silex
4/6: host McCluer North, 4:15
4/7: host Crossroads, 4:15
4/11: at Crossroads, 4:15
4/12: host Hancock, 4:15
4/13: host Bayless, 4:15
4/16: Brentwood Invitational — 11:45 vs. Barat, 3:15 vs. U. City, 6:45 vs. MS-Berkeley
4/18: host Jennings, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
4/19: at Valley Park, 4:15
4/21: at Herculaneum, 4:15
4/22: at Principia, 4:15
4/23: host JV tournament — 11:45 vs. Clayton, 3:15 vs. Priory, 6:45 vs. Bayless
4/25: at MRH, 4:15
4/27: host Cleveland NJROTC, 4:15
4/28: host University City, 4:15
4/30: host Whitfield, doubleheader, noon
5/2: at Hancock, 4:15
5/3: at Bayless, 4:15
5/4: host Lift for Life, 4:15
5/6: host Valley Park, 4:15