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Sports Briefs: Sept. 23

Skip Berkmeyer
Skip Berkmeyer (right) recently became a Missouri 2020 Stroke Play Champion for the third time.

Men’s amateur golf

Skip Berkmeyer recently won the 2020 Missouri Stroke Play Championship for the third time. He also captured the title in 2013 and 2016. The 23rd edition of the four-round event was played at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis. Berkmeyer, of Town & Country, finished with a 9-under par score of 271. He shot round of 68, 71, 69 and 63. Finishing second was Ryan Sullivan, of Arnold, at 275.

Berkmeyer was inducted last year into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. He has played in a myriad of tournaments multiple times, including Metropolitan Match Play, St. Louis District, Missouri State Amateur, Metropolitan Open, and Missouri Stroke Play. He has qualified 31 times for USGA events and played in 11 U. S. Amateurs. Earlier this summer, Berkmeyer reached the semifinals in the Missouri Amateur played at Ozarks National Golf Course in Hollister.

High school baseball

Acclaimed player and CBC senior Christian Little has decided to graduate early and head off to college for the winter semester. Little, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-handed pitcher, recently announced his plans to graduate early from CBC to join Vanderbilt University in January.

Christian Little
Christian Little (Nate Latsch photo)

Little is the nation’s No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2021 as rated by Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. He was a 2019 and 2020 Under Armour All-American Game selection.

Little was the 2020 Missouri Gatorade baseball player of the year even though no high school baseball was played because of the pandemic.

As a sophomore, Little led CBC with a 6-1 record and a 1.88 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 2019.

Little committed to Vanderbilt when he was 14.

“I have chosen to advance my academic and baseball career at Vanderbilt University,” Little said.

Little’s fastball has topped out at 95 miles an hour. Little throws a low-80s change-up that might be his most consistent secondary offering. He can throw his curveball for strikes and he is developing a slider to add to his pitching arsenal.

“Christian Little is a tremendous talent,” CBC coach Mason Horne said. “His work ethic and leadership qualities are off the charts. He is a fierce competitor who hates to lose and is a great teammate.”

High school football

De Smet Jesuit’s talented running back Taj Butts recently announced on Twitter he will play for the University of Missouri football team.

Butts, a senior, will be joining teammate Mekhi Wingo at University of Missouri. Butts was a key a member of the Spartans’ Class 6 state championship team last season. Butts gained a team-leading 1,279 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. He averaged 9.9 yards per carry.

De Smet coach Rob Steeples said Butts is a talented athlete.

Taj Butts
De Smet Jesuit’s Taj Butts (Source: University of Missouri)

“Taj brings the thunder and lightning,” Steeples said. “So, no surprise that he’s at his best during the grimmest part of the storm. The selfless attitude of Taj sets the tone for our football family. He marches to the beat of his own drum, but also loves being part of the parade.”

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Butts, rated by several scouting services as a three-star prospect, chose Missouri over Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Louisville and Purdue.

MGA Hall of Fame induction delayed

Scott Thomas

Chesterfield’s Scott Thomas will have to wait to get inducted in the Missouri Golf Association’s Hall of Fame.

Thomas, 62, will be enshrined in 2021. The coronavirus pandemic caused the recent ceremony in Jefferson City to be postponed. Thomas is currently the golf coach for men and women at Maryville University.

In his career, Thomas has won the Missouri Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur. He has qualified for six U.S. Mid-Amateurs, four U.S. Amateurs, a U.S. Senior Amateur and a U.S. Amateur Public Links tournament. Thomas twice won the Ozark Invitational in Poplar Bluff. He also played in the British Amateur a total of six times –1990 at Muirfield, 1992 at Carnoustie, 1994 at Nairn, 1996 at Turnberry, 1997 at Royal St. Goerges, and 1998 at Muirfield.

College men’s lacrosse

MICDS graduate Henry Carpenter has been awarded the No. 1 for the upcoming 2021 season at Penn State. The 6-foot, 180-pound Carpenter will be a sophomore this season.

As a freshman, Carpenter played in two games before the 2020 season was canceled March 12 due to the pandemic.

Before Penn State, Carpenter was a four-year member of the MICDS varsity lacrosse team and led the Rams to four consecutive state titles. He earned two all-state honors and one All-American nod. He was an eight-year member of the Project Missouri club lacrosse team, coached by Andy Kay, the MICDS head coach. He was named Under Armour Underclass All-American in 2016 and 2018.

His father, John, played college baseball at Brown.

Professional golf

The pandemic has claimed another sporting event.

The PGA TOUR Champions and Ascension recently announced the 2020 Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson and associated events scheduled for Sept. 28 through Oct. 4 are being canceled this year due to the ongoing health crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of continued concerns and the serious impact of the COVID-19 virus throughout the country and specifically within St. Louis and St. Louis County, tournament organizers have made the decision to move the inaugural event to 2021. Tournament officials have worked closely with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and local officials throughout this pandemic to continuously monitor and assess the situation.

“It’s not what any of us wanted, but the PGA TOUR and Ascension made the right decision for our region,” said Winston Calvert, chief of staff to St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, in a release.

All ticket holders for the 2020 Ascension Charity Classic will be provided the option of either donating the value of their ticket to charity or requesting a refund by contacting the tournament ticket office at tickets@ascensioncharityclassic.com.

Next year’s Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson is scheduled for the week of Sept. 6-12, 2021, at Norwood Hills Country Club.

While the inaugural event will not take place as planned this year, organizers confirmed the tournament remains on-track to provide significant charitable contributions to organizations in North St. Louis County as part of the current four-year agreement.

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