WASHINGTON — Noah Hendrickson felt awful.
The Borgia High junior catcher believed as though he and his teammates had let pitcher Jack Nobe down after the hard-throwing right-hander fanned 15 batters in a four-run loss to crosstown rival Washington late last month.
“We didn’t back him up too much,” Hendrickson said. “Errors, bad plays. There was no way we were going to let something like that happen again.”
The properly motivated Knights gave their junior ace plenty of backup Monday afternoon.
Borgia exploded for six runs in the seventh inning to record a 7-2 win over Washington in the Class 5 District 5 championship baseball game at the Fields at Southpoint in Washington.
The Knights (23-5) have won nine in a row and will host Glendale (29-9) in a quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon.
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“We just kept the line moving, everybody did their part,” said Nobe, who has given a verbal commitment to attend Xavier University in Cincinnati.
The Washington-based Catholic school is one win away from reaching the state tournament for the fifth time in program history and first since winning the Class 4 state championship in 2019.
And it took a total team effort in the final at-bat to keep the dream alive.
“We stayed to our plan and it paid off in the end,” Borgia coach Rob Struckhoff said.
Washington (27-9) carried a 2-1 lead into the top of the seventh and was three outs away from claiming its first district crown in 32 years.
But the Knights simply dug in and made every trip to the plate count in a lengthy 39-minute half inning.
“Just keep the line moving,” said Justin Mort, who tied the game 2-2 with a two-strike hit to left.
The first eight Borgia hitters in the seventh reached safely and the first six scored runs. All told, 10 batters came to the plate.
The onslaught occurred in a variety of ways, including a pair of hit batsmen with the bases loaded.
“It snowballed there,” Washington coach Dan Gough said. “They executed and we threw the ball around a bit.”
Nobe and senior Tanner McPherson singled to start the frame. Reagan Kandlbinder drew a walk to load the bases. Mort followed with the game-trying single. McPherson gave the Knights the lead for good by beating a throw home on Kabren Koelling’s grounder to first. Hendrickson and Henry Vetter were plunked with the bases loaded to push the lead to 5-2. Junior Tyler Kromer, the No. 9 hitter in the order, then ripped a two-run single.
“That was a pretty gritty performance,” Struckhoff said.
Nobe kept the Blue Jays in check throughout the contest. He struck out four and allowed one run on five hits before leaving with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
It wasn’t the dominating 15-strikeout effort of 24 days ago.
But it was certainly good enough to improve Nobe’s record to 6-1.
“This time we were there for him,” Hendrickson said.
Washington senior Grant Trentmann also threw well. He gave up one run on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings.
The intensity-filled contest was played in front of an overflow crowd at the new facility, which is still adding the finishing touches. Fans from both sides roared with each pitch.
Hanon Jarvis had two hits for the Blue Jays, who came into the contest on a six-game winning streak. Their previous loss was the setback to Borgia, which captured the first game of the two-game set 2-1 on April 28.
Borgia won its first seven games of the season and carried a 13-2 mark into play April 25. With only two seniors on its 19-player roster, there could be plenty of big days ahead for this youthful group.
But for now, the Knights are focused on the task ahead.
“When we’re playing pretty well, like we are now, we feel like we can compete with anybody,” Nobe said.