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Saxony pitcher Eli Brown records 20 strikeouts in first start of 2021

Before Saxony Lutheran baseball’s season opener at home Saturday, only 10 pitchers in Missouri high school baseball history had ever recorded 20 or more strikeouts in seven innings.

The Crusaders senior ace pitcher Eli Brown became the 11th to start his final campaign at Saxony as he recorded 20 Ks in a 9-0 win over Bloomfield. Brown also allowed only one hit through 100 pitches (73 strikes) in the win, which didn’t come until the top of the sixth inning.

Brown is now tied with seven other former Missouri pitchers for the fourth-most strikeouts in seven innings at 20. Miller’s Tyler Abma recorded the most strikeouts in seven innings back in 2007 when he had 22 against Walnut Grove.Two players are tied for second all-time with 21 Ks, which are Steelville’s Doug Housewright (1970) and North County’s Jim Rasnick (1980).

Brown and Saxony missed all of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Brown verbally committed to pitch in college at Lindenwood before this year.

In 2019, Brown garnered Class 3 All-State honors after producing a record of 7-2 on the mound with a team-high 63 strikeouts and an earned run average of 1.64. The Crusaders reached the Class 3 Final Four for the first time in school history two springs ago as another all-state honoree from that team is back in fellow senior shortstop/pitcher Tanner King.

King scored two runs in the season opener and singled in his first official high school game since 2019. He was also walked to load the bases, which resulted in Saxony scoring its final two runs.

King had a batting average of .342 along with 25 hits, 26 RBIs, 22 runs and 16 stolen bases to earn all-state in 2019. He has several offers to play college baseball, but he’s yet to commit anywhere.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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