High School Baseball

State baseball: Little Bishop Brossart slays St. X 5-3

A single by Bishop  Brossart's Erik Rieger drove in the last of the Mustangs' four runs in the sixth  inning.
A single by Bishop Brossart's Erik Rieger drove in the last of the Mustangs' four runs in the sixth inning. Herald-Leader

Bishop Brossart has 162 boys in its high school in Northern Kentucky.

St. Xavier, an all-boys' school in Louisville, has nearly 10 times that enrollment.

But in a showdown in the Kentucky National Insurance/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament quarterfinals, Brossart won the numbers game, shocking third-ranked St. X 5-3 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on Wednesday night.

"I know it's David versus Goliath in school size and stuff, but these guys know we can play with anybody," Coach Ron Verst said. "Nothing fazes them. That's the confidence they have right now."

Nate Verst, a sophomore right-hander, improved to 10-0 with his first complete game of the season. He surrendered three runs in the fourth, but he tamed the Tigers the other six innings.

"He's a gamer, a battler," Ron Verst said of his cousin, who rested a sore arm for most of the past month.

Brossart, making the most of its first state tournament appearance, got a run in the fourth on Nate Verst's single and Trevor Bezold's double.

The Mustangs' game-winning rally came in the sixth.

Jared Hahn drew a leadoff walk, and Zach Fardo singled with one out. Tanner Norton, who's batting .425, showed off his left-handed stroke by lacing a double to left that drove in two runs to tie it.

St. X Coach Andy Porta said junior lefty Ben Britt threw "a good low pitch. Give (Norton) credit. He went down and got it."

Britt intentionally walked Bezold to get to Bobby Roderick. The strategy failed. Roderick singled to chase home the go-ahead run.

Roderick said his heroics were no big deal. "I just got a first-pitch fastball right down the middle and I drove it like I always do."

Brossart added an insurance run with two outs when Erik Rieger singled to drive in Bezold.

Nate Verst closed out St. X in the seventh, setting down the Tigers 1-2-3.

Norton, a junior catcher, wasn't surprised by the Mustangs' stirring comeback.

"As long as we keep fighting, keep our heads in the game, we can win any game no matter how much we're down," he said.

Norton didn't consider the victory an upset, either.

"Not at all," he said. "As long as we come prepared, we can beat anybody."

Nate Verst, on the other hand, grudgingly admitted to being mildly surprised that the Mustangs have galloped into the semifinals.

"It feels amazing that we got the 'W,'" he said.

St. Xavier 000 300 0—3 5 0

Bishop Brossart 000 104 x—5 6 2

Ben Britt and Zach Montgomery. Nate Verst and Tanner Norton. 2B—Austin Clemons (X), Britt (X), Norton (B).

Records—St. Xavier 30-12; Brossart 27-12

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