It took everything the Trinity baseball team had to gut out a two-game rally and defeat South Grand Prairie to become bi-district champs for the first time since 2003.
After a heartbreaking Game 1 loss on Thursday to a walk-off walk, the Trojans (20-4) regrouped to win a home run derby in Game 2, then senior pitcher Mark Geisel retired the final seven batters in the Game 3 clincher.
Trinity makes its first area-round appearance in 12 years, but if the Trojans expect to get to the third round for the first time since 1994, they'll have to defeat defending state champion and current No. 2-ranked Flower Mound this week.
“They are well-known for baseball. Coach (Danny) Wallace does an excellent job, has good ballplayers and great teams,” Trinity coach Will Averitt said. “We're just excited to be where we're at and it will be a big challenge for us. We just have to go out there, play good baseball, have fun and see what happens.”
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The Jaguars (26-4) are in their 14th consecutive postseason. They defeated a feisty Keller Timber Creek team in three games in bi-district.
The Trojans will host Game 1 at 7 p.m. Thursday, then the series heads to Flower Mound for Game 2 at 7 p.m. Friday and Game 3 at 2 p.m. Saturday, if needed.
In the decisive Game 3 for Trinity, it was Phillip Childs that brought the pop from the plate – homering for the third time in two games to give the Trojans a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning.
Then Geisel came on in the bottom of the fifth with two outs and a bases-loaded jam. He didn't get a pitch off due to a 30-minute lightning delay, but when play resumed, he forced a ground-out. He retired the side in the final two innings, striking out four as the Trojans won 6-4.
“I was really proud on the comeback, being able to win the game while staying composed,” Averitt said. “To lose the way we did in Game 1, it was devastating, but the kids regrouped at home on Friday – got after them really good and then finished it out on Saturday.”
The Trojans had the lead but walked in the tying and game-winning runs to lose 5-4 on Thursday at SGP.
Wes Engle started for Trinity and pitched four innings of one-run ball on four hits, but the Trojans bullpen gave up three runs in the final frame.
Trinity would bounce back to tie the series in a big way, thanks to the aforementioned Childs, who blasted two home runs – the two teams hitting seven total – and the Trojans dominated in a 13-4 home victory Friday night. The Trojans trailed 2-1 before reeling off five runs on six hits in the third with Childs, Geisel, Riley King and Noah Tratree all driving in runs.
Childs would go 3-for-3 with five RBI and a homer in both the fourth and sixth innings. Engle and Chase Averitt also went yard.
Drew Johnson got the win, allowing four runs on five hits in five innings. “Drew started Game 2 and had an excellent outing in a much-needed game, I was proud of him and the whole team,” Averitt said.
Averitt recalls a similar situation last year in their first-round series with Flower Mound Marcus.
“We were kind of in the same boat last year with Marcus. We lost a heartbreaker at home, came back to win Game 2. We lost the third game, but I kind of reminded them of that.
“I just told them the basics and the mistakes we made. Told them if we get those corrected, we win the first game. After that, we got those corrected and the kids just kept doing what they've been doing all season,” Averitt said.