December 6, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Brazelton, Roesch combine on no-hitter as SJO baseball wins its first six games

The St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team last played in the state tournament in 2017.


With the way the Spartans have opened their 2021 season, the program’s first since 2019 after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 season, don’t be shocked if they’re back in the state tournament in mid-June.


But before the Spartans turn their attention to the postseason, coach Josh Haley’s program is set to have a massive regular-season test on Friday. SJO (6-0) is slated to play at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Teutopolis in a nonconference game. The two programs are familiar with one another, with the Wooden Shoes beating SJO 10-2 in the 2017 Class 2A state championship game and the two programs routinely playing each other in the regular season. Teutopolis owns four state championships since 2010 and is technically the defending 2A state champion since they won the last state tournament in 2019.


SJO is still vying for its first baseball state championship, but the Spartans are off to a perfect start. Here’s a look back through the first week of the season, highlighted by a combined no-hitter thrown by juniors Hayden Brazelton and Griffin Roesch.

WHAT’S HAPPENED
SJO 13, Urbana 1 (April 22)
A late offensive surge by the visiting Spartans carried SJO to a nonconference win in six innings.
The Spartans scored eight runs in the top of the sixth to increase its lead from 5-1 at the start of the inning and a scoreless inning of relief from senior Jackson Rydell in the bottom of the sixth allowed to game to end early.
Junior Avian Gerdes picked up the win on the mound, starting and lasting five innings. The left-hander only allowed four hits and one unearned run while striking out four and walking none.
Junior Andrew Beyers led the efficient offensive performance for SJO by going 2 for 3 with an RBI. The Spartans managed to walk eight times, with seniors Crayton Burnett (1 for 4, three RBI) and Zach Martinie (1 for 3, two RBI) each driving in multiple runs.
After an RBI single by Burnett in the sixth allowed SJO to take a 7-1 lead, a two-run single from Martinie scored Burnett and Beyers to and give the Spartans a 9-1 lead.
Sophomore Alex Funk (1 for 1, two runs scored) and Brazelton (1 for 4) each added an RBI.

SJO 10, Tri-Valley 0 (April 21)
Brazelton and Roesch will be forever linked by their impressive pitching performance during the nonconference road win against the Vikings that ended up as a no-hitter for the Spartans.
Brazelton started and lasted five innings, striking out five and walking five. Roesch threw the final two innings in relief, striking out three and walking one to complete the no-hitter.
SJO gave Brazelton a 4-0 lead before he even took the mound thanks to four runs in the top of the first.
A two-run double by Burnett, to go along with junior Keaton Nolan and senior Xander Rieches each driving in a run, staked SJO to its 4-0 lead.
The Spartans tacked on another run in the third, three more in the fourth, one in the sixth and another in the seventh to round out their scoring.
Burnett (2 for 4, three RBI), Nolan (1 for 5, three RBI) and Rieches (2 for 4, two RBI) were all clutch at the plate, while Martinie (3 for 3), Brazelton (1 for 2, two runs scored, two stolen bases), sophomore Ty Pence (1 for 3, two runs scored, RBI) and junior Austin Cotter (1 for 1, RBI) all contributed.

SJO 7, Oakwood 1 (April 19)
The Spartans compiled 10 hits and used a four-run third inning to take control in a nonconference home win against the Comets.
Burnett dazzled, with the Illinois commit going 2 for 4 with two RBI, including a triple. He drove in SJO’s first two runs, with his triple in the third inning giving SJO a 2-1 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The right-hander was even more dominant on the mound, striking out 15 in six innings of work while yielding three hits and one run.
Burnett was one of three Spartans to finish with at least two hits. Rieches went 2 for 3 with two RBI, while Pence was 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Brazelton hit a solo home run out of the leadoff spot and scored two runs, while Nolan (1 for 2) and junior Andrew Beyers (1 for 4) also drove in a run.

SJO 9, Champaign Central 0 (April 15)
Opportunistic offense and superb pitching carried SJO to its first shutout win of the spring.
Pence got SJO on the scoreboard in the nonconference road game with an RBI double in the top of the first and Beyers drove in Pence later in the inning with an RBI single to put SJO up 2-0.
The Spartans scored five more runs in the second inning, with Brazelton delivering the big hit with a bases-clearing double to give SJO a 6-0 lead. A sacrifice fly by Pence scored Brazelton and staked SJO to a 7-0 lead after two innings.
That was more than enough offense for junior right-hander Tyler Altenbaumer. Altenbaumer started and lasted six innings, giving up four hits and striking out eight before Pence threw the final inning and struck out one.
Beyers finished 2 for 4 and was the lone Spartan to have a multi-hit game, while Martinie, Brazelton and Altenbaumer each scored two runs. Senior Isaiah Immke chipped in a two-run double in his only at-bat for SJO’s final two runs.

SJO 17, Danville 1 (April 14)
The host Spartans only needed four innings to defeat the Vikings, with SJO scoring eight runs apiece in the second and third innings to put the nonconference game out of reach.
Burnett and junior Coby Miller each hit home runs to power SJO. Burnett hit a three-run home run in the second to give SJO a 7-0 lead, while Miller hit a solo home run to round out the scoring in the second to put the Spartans ahead 9-0.
Miller, Beyers and Martinie all went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI. Pence and senior Jackson Rydell each drove in two runs, while Nolan, senior John Ehmen and Immke drove in one run apiece.
Brazelton and junior Avian Gerdes combined on a one-hitter. Brazelton started and went three innings, striking out six and not allowing a hit. Gerdes allowed one hit and one run in his inning of work that featured a strikeout.

SJO 9, Centennial 5 (April 12)
Playing the program’s first game in almost two years, the Spartans didn’t let an early deficit deter them en route to a nonconference home win.
SJO trailed 2-0 before its first at-bats of the season, but promptly scored four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-2 lead and never trail again the rest of the game.
Miller had the game’s big hit early, drilling a three-run home run in the first inning that put SJO ahead 4-2 after Brazelton scored SJO’s first run of the season off an error by Centennial.
Run-scoring singles by Pence in the second and Nolan in the fifth increased SJO’s lead to 7-2 after five innings before Centennial cut its deficit to 7-5 with three runs in the top of the sixth. But SJO responded in the bottom half of the sixth with RBI singles from Pence and Altenbaumer to go up 9-5.
Miller finished 1 for 4 with four RBI, while Pence (2 for 4, two RBI), Beyers (2 for 4), Altenbaumer (1 for 3, two runs scored, RBI), Nolan (1 for 2, RBI) and Brazelton (1 for 2, two runs scored, RBI) also contributed.
Burnett picked up the win, throwing four innings. He struck out 10 while allowing three hits and two runs (one earned). Martinie threw two innings of relief, giving up three runs on three hits to go along with two strikeouts and three walks. Altenbaumer registered the save, throwing one hitless inning and striking out the side.

WHAT’S AHEAD
After Friday’s game at Teutopolis, the Spartans are scheduled for four games next week. SJO is set to play at 4:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley before hosting Charleston at 4:30 p.m. next Thursday and Mahomet-Seymour at 4:30 p.m. next Friday. Those three nonconference games precede the Spartans’ Illini Prairie Conference opener scheduled at 10 a.m. on May 1 at Monticello.

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