April 19th, 2017

Trinity tags Male in regional battle

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer


Trinity tags Male in regional battle
Trinity's Ben Metzinger had two hits and an RBI for the Rocks / photo-Paul Najjar

The top-ranked Trinity Shamrocks rode a strong start from lefty Nick Parrish and some timely big swings from several hitters to a convincing 6-1 win over the No. 7-ranked Male Bulldogs Wednesday night at Thurman Hutchins field.

The victory improved the Rocks’ record to 16-4-2 and helped erase the bitter sting of last year’s first-round regional tournament loss to the Bulldogs.

“It’s always great to pitch when you have the best defense in the state behind you and a guy like Ben Metzinger behind the plate calling the game,” Parrish said of his four-hit, one run performance. “My changeup was working well today. I kept the ball down in the zone, threw a lot of strikes and hit my spots. It was just great to throw like that for my team. It was the first time I’ve thrown that many pitches in a long time.”

Parrish, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery, struck out seven and walked three Bulldogs. He tossed an efficient 66 pitches through six innings and was pulled with two outs in the seventh due to a strict pitch count.

“We had him on a strict pitch count of 85 and he was at 82 after the two-out walk,” Trinity head coach Rick Arnold said. “I probably know Nick as well as any player I’ve ever coached. He competes like no other player I’ve coached. On a team full of competitors, he’s the ultimate competitor and he showed that tonight.”

Male third baseman Tristan Garcia doubled to lead off the game and scored on Trevor Campbell’s groundout to second, but that’s all the Bulldogs could muster off the crafty lefthander.

“We don’t dwell on last year’s result in the regional, but it was in the back of our minds,” Parrish said. “Coach always says we’ll see these guys or any of the good teams in the seventh region later in the year.”

Parrish’s battery mate Metzinger had a fine day at the plate going 2 for 3 including an RBI double in the second. He also had the perfect view of just how effective Parrish was on the mound.

“Nick hit every spot and I didn’t have to work at all; I put my glove in a spot and he hit the spot,” Metzinger said of Parrish’s performance. “At the plate, I’ve been pulling off lately so I tried to stay up the middle with my approach. We were all jumpy against St. X and were probably a little too excited for that game.”

In Trinity’s 4-0 loss on Monday to St. Xavier, the Tigers pitchers struck out 10 Rocks and made them chase off speed pitches all night. They learned their lessons and applied them in the win over Male (14-6).

Dylan Byerly drew a one-out walk in the second, stole second and trotted home on Brody Heil’s triple to deep centerfield. Heil scored on Clayton Mehlbauer’s RBI single and Metzinger plated Mehlbauer with the RBI double.

“Every game that we see a good pitcher, and we’ve seen a slew of them this year, we have to learn from them,” Arnold said. “The more of those good pitchers we see, the better off we are.”

Against the Tigers, the middle of the Trinity order struck out a combined seven times. But cleanup hitter Brandon Pfaadt and five-hole hitter A.J. Arnold both had success against Male.

Pfaadt singled with one out in the third and Arnold plated him when he ripped a Jared Leuthart curveball over the left field fence for a two-run homer.

Male first baseman Noah Thompson, who tossed a masterful game to beat Trinity in last year’s regional, had two of the Bulldogs’ four hits as Parrish was able to limit their potent lineup to just one baserunner an inning until the seventh.

“It was great to see the guys compete at the plate tonight,” Arnold said. “That’s where the St. X game had an impact on us. A.J. kept his barrel in the zone a long time on his home. It was a good breaking ball that he hit, but his approach was correct and he was able to hit it a long way.”

Following three games in three days, the Rocks will face North Oldham and Dunbar in back-to-back games on Saturday.

Trinity, Male, St. Xavier and Ballard are four outstanding teams in the Seventh Region. And though the Rocks got the better of the Bulldogs in this contest, there will be several more battles among this group before post-season play begins in late May.

And then the real fun begins. 

 

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