Coming off of an NCAA Division III National Championship, the Trinity baseball team is back and ready to compete. The team started their season this past weekend with a three-day tournament in Jackson, Mississippi, where they achieved their first two victories of the season.
Last year, the Tigers had an incredibly strong season. In addition to going undefeated, they won the first-ever national championship in Trinity’s baseball in history. This season, the Tigers have a target on their back, as many people watch to see how the new team will rise to the occasion of having lost a majority of their competitive team to graduation. The Tigers, however, are not too bothered by this, knowing that in order to be successful they must focus.
“Although defending the title is definitely in our scope, we need to focus on one game at a time. I can’t think of any goals that we have set for the season, but right now, our objective is to get better and better everyday so we can have a successful postseason,” said Jake Martin, a sophomore outfielder.
Despite having a young team, the men are still a talented group, much of which is a result of their past success helping them draw talented first years who are able to contribute to the team, sometimes right away.
“As a freshman, Trinity was appealing for several reasons. First, our program has been successful, and is one of the top teams in the nation. Also, the team are truly amazing guys, and have made the transition to college easy. We push each other, but bond in the process,” said first-year infielder James Tatum.
The team started the weekend with a 6-2 loss against University of Texas at Tyler. The Tigers came out strong during the game, scoring both their runs in the first three innings, but faltered towards the end with a hitless final three innings. However, the Tigers came back strong later that day with a decisive 11-5 victory against Millsaps College. The team started with a 4-0 lead, and while Milsaps battled back, the Tigers responded with three more runs, effectively scoring a victory.
The next day the Tigers split their games again, winning 4-2 against Maryville University (Tenn.) and then losing 10-6 against Belhaven University. The Tigers led the Maryville game until the fourth, when the team tied up the score. The Tigers responded by keeping Maryville scoreless for the remainder of the game, only allowing them to get one hit. In the Belhaven game, the Tigers once again began strong, leading 3-0, but struggled to keep the momentum throughout the rest of the game. A three-run homer by Belhaven scored their final, and clinched their victory.
The Tigers’ Sunday game against Berry University was close, with the Tigers leaving with a 5-4 loss. The Tigers had a strong third inning, scoring three runs, but in the end it was four unearned runs that gave Berry the lead and the eventual victory. Despite any losses, the team is still strongly focused on future games, and is ready to work on improving the young team as much as possible.
“Being our first games with basically a new team, we played hard and never let up. To improve, we simply need to play smarter,” said Scott Walters. “I think the younger class has stepped up well. I think a key element is the amount of competition for each position which really pushes everyone to work harder.”