December 21st, 2017

No. 9 story of 2017: Trinity baseball wins region

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer


No. 9 story of 2017: Trinity baseball wins region
Trinity baseball / photo by Paul Najjar

The Louisville Catholic Sports Network has chosen its top 10 stories of 2017 and is posting them in a series starting Dec. 19 with an honorable mention list. LCSN will have a story each day with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We will run our top story of the year Dec. 31st.

The 2017 season was one for the record books and memory banks for the Trinity Shamrocks baseball program as they won the Seventh Region for the first time since 2009 and advanced to the state tournament.

It had been eight long years, but not entirely unexpected. The Shamrocks started the season 11-0 and clearly made their case to why they were the state’s No. 1 team throughout most of the regular season.

A few years ago the Rocks were struggling to stay over .500, three years later the Shamrocks earned every bit of their 32-5 record, registering their first 30-win season in 11 years.

“Coach Arnold has established a culture,” Trinity outfielder Matt Higgins said. “We have really established ourselves with a winning mindset and that has made us a dominant team. It’s a confident culture. We have a lot of fun at practices, but we also make sure we get our work done.”

With an offense that scored 317 runs, an average of 8.6 per game, and a pitching staff and defense that permitted just 2.5 runs per game, the Rocks were a formidable opponent every time they took the field.

The team enjoyed winning streaks of eight, 10 and 11 games during the season and recorded wins over regional tournament nemesis Male, Manual and rival St. X on the road to the regional title.

Winning the Seventh Region wasn’t a cakewalk as the Rocks had to overcome a gritty Manual squad in the semifinals to record an 8-6 win. They then had to hold off a furious comeback from rival St. Xavier in the regional final posting a thrilling 7-6 victory that send the team to Lexington for the Sweet 16.

The Rocks had to face the No. 2-ranked McCracken County squad in the first round of the state tournament. Trinity ended up on the short end of a tremendous 1-0 pitcher’s duel.

Trinity starter Brandon Pfaadt and McCracken County starter Luke Seed staged a battle on the bump that will be remembered for many years.

Pfaadt tossed a three-hitter and struck out 12 of the 24 hitters he faced. Seed gave up just two hits and set down eight Trinity hitters on strikeouts.

“You tip your cap to Luke Seed and coach (Geno) Miller, those guys were great today,” Trinity head coach Rick Arnold said. “We just missed getting good contact on a couple of pitches, but I think the credit goes to their pitcher because he was dynamite. I know his (Seed’s) fastball doesn’t light up the radar gun, but you mix it in with that changeup it’s really, effective. It was a great baseball game between two great high school baseball teams. I’d put these two teams up against anybody in the country.”

While it was heartbreaking, seniors Mike Blair, Price Adams, Brody Heil, Matt Higgins, Clayton Mehlbauer, and Brandon Pfaadt were able to walk out of Lexington’s Whitaker Bank Ballpark with their heads held high.

“We plan on returning,” Arnold continued. “There’s no doubt that the McCracken County guys, having been here four straight years gave them an edge; but it was still a great game on a beautiful day at a beautiful park. The difference was a ground ball with two outs that snuck through between our first and second basemen that wasn’t hit hard enough to give us a chance to throw out the runner at the plate. But it was execution and to their credit they did it. This experience will help us, and we will be back here sooner rather than later.”

 

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