Slumps are over for the baseball programs of two Catholic schools in the archdiocese.
St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington won its first state baseball championship on May 31, when it defeated Westminster 13-1 to take the Class 4 title behind a masterful pitching performance by Bryce Mayer.
De Smet Jesuit High School won its second state title the next day, defeating defeat Marquette High School 6-4 in the Class 5 championship. Both games were played at CarShield Field in O’Fallon.
Borgia’s Mayer pitched a complete-game two-hitter with eight strikeouts. He and catcher Adam Molitor “followed the game plan to a T,” said Borgia Coach Robert Struckhoff. “It was an outstanding job by those two young men, with great defense behind them.”
The Knights put the ball in play and made timely plays in the field. It didn’t surprise Struckhoff — they’d which won 14 of the last 15 games. Borgia finished the year 23-7 after playing a difficult schedule, the coach noted. “We saw good pitching all year. We were prepared. We weren’t ranked, but we knew we could play with anybody, and we proved it.”
The win was good for the school community, he said, praising the large number of people wearing the school’s blue and yellow colors at the game. “It wasn’t just a baseball team winning it. It was a whole community winning it,” Struckhoff said.
The previous Sunday, the team attended Mass before practice and received a blessing from outgoing president Father Kevin Schmittgens. Faith is important to the players, Struckhoff said: “There’s someone above who has given you the talent, and you just have to use it to the best of your abilities.”
For example, Mayer said that he looks to God for support before every inning and at-bat.
He gave credit for the championship to his teammates.
The pitcher, who also had two hits and an RBI, said Westminster has a good team with hitters who are adept at hitting the fastball. His coach urged him and Molitor, who called pitches from behind the plate, to rely on his breaking ball. It was sharp all game.
Center fielder Tyler Glosemeyer, who drove in two runs, said all season someone stepped up when needed. The pitchers, however, led the way, he added. The win “is for all the Borgia players, before and after us,” he said.
Joe Schmidt, a third baseman who plated two runs with a pair of hits vs. Westminster, said “generations upon generations of people have been looking forward to this day, and we finally brought it to them. It’s just a great feeling. All the support from former grads and everyone. It’s fun.”
In the semifinal game, Borgia defeated Helias Catholic of Jefferson City 5-0. Schmidt pitched a no-hitter, with six strikeouts, one walk, and two hit batters. He also slugged a home run.
De Smet fought hard after some bad bounces on the infield let Marquette take an early lead. De Smet relief pitcher Colin Doherty pitched out of a couple of bases-loaded, no-out jams, and reliever Brad Rumping was bailed out on a key play when catcher Tim Chiapel, who had the game-winning hit, threw out a runner stealing at second in the sixth inning. Rumping calmly set down Marquette in the seventh for the save and a win for Doherty.
Alex Logusch, who was the starting pitcher before moving to shortstop, said it was appropriate for his team, facing a deficit, “to come back from the dead.”
This year proved to be “an up and down season,” Logusch said, and, with only a handful of seniors, the underclassmen learned fast and contributed much to the team’s success.
He recognized how important the win was to others, especially former players.
Coach David Stewart called his 14-13-1 team resilient and open to improving all season. De Smet played a tough schedule, facing seven of the top 10 teams during the season, Stewart said, and it paid off as they won their last six games.
With five seniors, he said, the team had to come together and rely on its strengths.
Third baseman Charles Ferbet said De Smet struggled during the season came together in the playoffs. “It was a fun season, and this is the best way to end the last game,” he said. “We always try to make it fun, but it’s even better when you win.”
Faith is the number-one factor at De Smet, Stewart said. The baseball players attended Mass and prayer sessions together, for example, and went to see the movie “Unplanned,” which stresses the sanctity of unborn life. Faith “has to come first for a mission-driven school,” Stewart said.
In the semifinals, De Smet defeated Staley 1-0 behind a three-hitter thrown by Josh Abel. Logusch drove in the winning run.
Duchesne and St. Dominic high schools won state championships in girls soccer, and Nerinx Hall, St. Vincent and Visitation Academy finished second.
Final four games were played May 29-June 1 in Kansas City, Mo.
In Class 1, Duchesne defeated St. Vincent 2-1 in shootouts for its sixth state title. The winning goal in the shootout was scored by Gabrielle Schlapper. St. Vincent scored first on a goal by Mary Schwartz in the first half, and Duchesne tied the game in the second half on a penalty shot by Haley Stockhausen. Olivia Scheberle and Amanda Maasen also scored in shootouts for Duchesne, and Kalli Seabaugh scored for St. Vincent in the shootouts.
Duchesne, 13-8, defeated Lone Jack 2-1, and St. Vincent, 13-8, defeated New Covenant 3-0 to reach the finals.
In Class 3, St. Dominic defeated Rockwood Summit 2-1, outlasting its opponent 7-6 in shootouts, to take its fifth state title. Rachel Livingston scored the winning shootout goal. St. Dominic’s Jessica Larson scored in the second half to tie the game. St. Dominic defeated Kearney 3-2 in semifinals to finish the season 26-2-1.
In Class 2, Visitation Academy lost to Notre Dame of Cape Girardeau 4-0. Visitation won its semifinal game 1-0 vs. Pembroke Hill.
In Class 4, Nerinx Hall fell to Liberty 3-1. Mackenzie Duff scored to bring her team to 2-1 in the second half, but Liberty tacked on a late goal to seal its win. Nerinx won its semifinal game 3-2 vs. Lee’s Summit West.