|Drew Butler's eighth home run of the season netted three runs and proved the difference in the game for the Trinity (Texas) Tigers.
Photo by Pat Coleman, d3photography.com
By Nyreesha Williams-Torrence
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Trinity (Texas) held off Cortland 9-7 to advance to the Pool A championship at the 2016 NCAA Division III World Series at Neurosciences group Field at Fox Citties Stadium.
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Trinity kickstarted the scoring in the second inning, fueled by a two-run homer from designated hitter Jose Santos and an RBI single from second baseman Colin Serkowski.
Trinity coach Tim Scannell said offense is a defining piece of his team’s identity.
“We have to be who we are,” Scannell said. “Trinity University is an offensive club that squares the ball. We have some power and we can score at any point in our lineup. We can’t be something we’re not.”
Cortland got rolling offensively in the fourth inning with singles from first baseman Austin Clock and designated hitter Patrick Schetter. Catcher Justin Teague hit an RBI single to left field to score Cortland’s first run of the day. Things opened up after that and Cortland would tally six runs and five hits and take a three-run lead into the fifth inning.
Cortland center fielder Conrad Ziemendorf, who was 2-for-5 with one RBI on the day, said he approached each of his at-bats looking for fastballs.
“I never swung first-pitch curveball,” Ziemendorf said. “It’s one of those things where you have to wait for your fastball and adjust to the curveball because if you’re sitting on anything else you’re not going to be able to catch up to the fastball.”
Joe Brown, Cortland’s coach, said he was proud of the way his team fought to stay in the game.
“This was a good baseball game between two good baseball teams,” Brown said. Unfortunately, we were kind of clawing out of a hole for a while. I thought our guys did a good job battling back under some challenging circumstances.”
Scannell said he and his coaching staff told the team to settle down following Cortland’s scoring burst.
“You aren’t going to get given anything,” Scannell said. “These are the defending national champs. I felt like in that fifth inning, we had a lead and we weren’t trying to fight to protect it. You’ve got to have the mindset to come in here and take things. You’ve got to fight and compete.”
The Trinity players got the message and put together a three-run five-hit sixth inning.
Center fielder Andrew Waters started things off with a single down the third-base line. Connor Moore and Serkowski were hit by pitches which set up catcher Drew Butler to give the Tigers an 8-5 lead with a three-run home run. Trinity wouldn’t trail again in the game.
Cortland would score two runs in the eighth inning but costly errors would keep the Red Dragons from threatening Trinity’s lead.
“When we talk about all year, tighten up the little things and they come out and rear their ugly head at some of the most inopportune times unfortunately we end up with a loss,” Brown said.
Cortland will fight to stay alive against UW-La Crosse tonight and Trinity will play the winner of that contest tomorrow for the Pool A championship and a chance to advance to the Championship series.
Brown said his team will be ready to compete when they face UW-La Crosse.
“We knew it was going to be a barn brawl,” Brown said. “We played La Crosse earlier in the year, we played them twice last year, and they’re as good as it gets in terms of offense but we’ll have a pretty good pitcher on the mound.”