There are plenty of different formulas for playing baseball, but adding “young” to the mix generally decreases your prospects for winning. Euless Trinity, though, is hoping its experiment defies that hypothesis to yield winning results.
Returning just two position players from a team that graduated 15 seniors a year ago, experience is not on the Trojans’ side. Even most of this year’s seniors have only JV experience after waiting their turns behind three- and four-year lettermen.
That’s why it’s been relatively surprising for the team to jump out to a 10-4-2 start in non-district play.
“After graduating as many kids as we did last year, we didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we’ve played good baseball,” assistant coach Scott Smith said. “We’ve actually played better than Coach [Will] Averitt and I thought we would, to be honest.”
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Trinity wrapped its pre-district slate with a stretch of five wins and a tie (the game was halted due to weather) and heads into District 5-6A play this week with a bit of confidence.
“They’re making a lot of plays, putting a lot of balls in play and executing a lot of the offensive stuff we work on,” Smith said. “They’ve definitely gotten better with each tournament, and that was our goal.”
Trinity will likely be the young kids on the block. The roster features a couple of freshmen expected to make an impact. Cameron Bye will serve in a relief pitching role while Brock Pacheco will see some time in the outfield.
The sophomore class is also well represented, with Kristopher Velasquez playing first base and likely filling a place in the starting rotation. Zach Palumbo will also pitch and play in center field. Jimmy Crooks will sit behind the plate. His experience at the varsity level last season as a freshman will prove valuable.
Along with Crooks, junior outfielder Daniel Childs is the only other starting position player back from 2016.
“For a lot of these kids, Tuesday will be their first time dipping their toes into probably one of the toughest baseball districts in the state,” Smith noted.
As for getting the right formula to make the Trojans a contender in District 5-6A, a lot of that will fall on the coaches, they admit. Unlike recent years, most of the pitchers aren’t solely pitchers. Many have defensive positions, and when they’re on the mound, shuffling will ensue. There’s plenty of talent and skill spread throughout the team, but getting it in the right places at the right time will be the trick.
“On Tuesday, I guarantee we’ll play anywhere from 12 to 14 different players in the game because we have some kids on the bench that will come off to hit,” Smith said. “We have a lot of guys with speed, so we’ll have guys pinch running and courtesy running. To be competitive, those are the kinds of things we’re going to have to do and we’ll have to push all the right buttons.”
The Trojans passed the non-district test, but things get amplified now. Still, Smith and Averitt don’t think inexperience will keep them from success.
“What we’ve said to them is that we can’t control the winning and losing of the game, that just happens. All we can focus on is hustling and having heart and trying to play good baseball. We’ve shown that so far,” Smith said.
“We know the district is going to be tough, and even though we’re super young, we feel like we are going to be really competitive the whole way through.”