Varsity Kansas

Gutsy play lifts Trinity to sweep of rival

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with bases loaded in a tie game with rival Independent, Trinity reserve catcher Zach Werhan approached the plate with the full intention of swinging away for the walk-off RBI — or at least that's what he wanted Independent's defenders to think.

He crowded the plate, and on the second pitch of his at-bat Werhan executed a flawless bunt. Phil Kennedy's lead on third was just large enough for him to make it home and Trinity (13-1) successfully pulled off a suicide squeeze to take the 3-2 win at home and sweep its baseball doubleheader against Independent (10-6).

Trinity coach Dave Martin went for broke in Game 2 with the squeeze play. It's something that Werhan said even caught the umpires off guard.

"I acknowledged the sign, and I was like 'he's going to give me a fastball,' " Werhan said. "It was a perfect pitch to squeeze. I was down in the shed and heard the umpires talking about how they didn't expect a squeeze at all. They said nobody expected it and thought I was going to swing away and try for the RBI. It was just a great feeling to win a ball game."

It was a game full of similar plays that would satisfy any baseball fan's fix for the unusual. Trinity put its first run on the board in the fourth by executing a double steal, in which runners on first and third escaped rundowns. Andrew Newlin slid in for the run from third after an Independent defender was late covering home.

Martin said before the game that both team's would bring the best out of each other, which would explain the close, defensive games and highlight reel plays.

"It doesn't matter what the records are," Martin said. "I'm an Oklahoma guy. So I call it one of those Texas/Oklahoma rivalries. Both teams show up.... It's a lot of fun."

Trinity won the first game 3-1, and allowed nine hits in both games. Independent coach Jamie Fowler wants his team to learn from its mistakes and start putting balls in play.

"In their minds I hope we get a little tougher," Fowler said. "Because we've now lost three walk-off games this season. We've got to do better offensively."

Kennedy, who scored on that suicide squeeze to sweep the doubleheader said it's good to be on the other side of things.

Trinity lost to Independent last year in the series and ended up finishing its season with a 10-10 record. It has already surpassed its win total from last season with 13 wins and is 9-0 in Central Plains League play.

"It's new. We're back on top," Kennedy said. "We haven't been on top in a while. It's nice to go somewhere and have teams know that they're going to have a game on their hands."

Trinity 3, Independent 1

Independent010 000 0 — 1 7 2 Trinity110 000 1 — 3 6 1

W—Cole. L—Neville

Trinity 3, Independent 2

Independent000 002 00— 2 3 2 Trinity000 200 01 — 3 9 1

W—Fewin. L—Pierson.