Final Defeat of 2015 Still Fresh for Eagles

Morgan Murphy takes batting practice in the BHS gym on March 22.
Junior pitcher and right fielder Morgan Murphy takes batting practice in the BHS gym.

MRH won district title but teams will get rematch this season

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

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.”

Junior catcher Stephen Suntrup.
Junior catcher Stephen Suntrup.

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.

Head coach Mike Imergoot and senior infielder/pitcher Charles "Butters" Jones.
Head coach Mike Imergoot and senior pitcher and third baseman Charles “Butters” Jones.

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.”

Senior pitcher and third baseman John Bischoff.
Senior pitcher and shortstop John Bischoff.
Senior pitcher and first baseman Mike Mills.
Senior pitcher and first baseman Mike Mills.
Junior pitcher and infielder Skylar Sappington.
Junior pitcher and second baseman Skylar Sappington.
Senior pitcher Seth Winkleman.
Senior pitcher Seth Winkleman.

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.”

Sophomore third baseman Alex Cobb.
Sophomore left fielder Alex Cobb.

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.

Sophomore outfielder Joe Clay.
Sophomore center fielder Joe Clay.

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.

Assistant coach Natalee Rujawitz instructs Daniel Doebber on hitting.
Assistant coach Natalee Rujawitz instructs Daniel Doebber on hitting.

2016 roster by position, with 2015 stats

Coaches
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

Head coach Mike Imergoot talks to Alex Cobb about hitting technique.
Head coach Mike Imergoot talks to Alex Cobb about hitting technique.
Assistant coaches Brooke Fox (left) and Elliott Sterett.
Assistant coaches Brooke Fox (left) and Elliott Sterett watch Seth Winkleman’s delivery.
Assistant coach John Sappington.
Assistant coach John Sappingto throws batting practice.

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

Catchers
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.”

Junior catcher and pitcher Luke Tilton.
Junior catcher and outfielder Luke Tilton.

First base
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.”

Second base
Skylar Sappington

Shortstop
John Bischoff, Skylar Sappington

Third base
Butters Jones

Left field
Alex Cobb, Jonas Heisel, Sam Tilton, Luke Tilton

Senior Sam Tilton.
Senior outfielder Sam Tilton.
Junior third baseman Jonas Heisel.
Junior oufielder Jonas Heisel.

Center field
Joe Clay
Imergoot: “He also runs track but baseball will take precedence. He hits well and is very coachable.”

Right field
Morgan Murphy, Luke Tilton, Sam Tilton, Alex Cobb

Mike Imergoot speaks to his players after practice.
Mike Imergoot speaks to his players after practice.

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Leading hitters
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
Final standings
Valley Park, 8-0
Brentwood, 4-2
Crossroads, 3-3
Hancock, 2-6
Bayless, 1-7

2016 Schedule
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

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