Trinity can’t close the deal

Published 12:27 am Friday, April 25, 2008

GALLMAN — Trinity Episcopal had every opportunity in the world to close out Copiah Academy and win their first round Class AA playoff series.

The Saints led by two runs in the seventh inning and three runs in the eighth, but Copiah fought back each time and claimed a 16-14 victory on a two-run walk off home run by Bryce Guess in the bottom of the eighth.

The series is now tied at one game apiece with the third and deciding game to take place at 6 p.m. today at Chester Willis Field.

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“We missed so many opportunities,” Trinity coach Matt Mason said. “We had three or four opportunities to win but didn’t close it out.”

Shaky defense was Trinity’s downfall. The Saints outhit Copiah 17-11 but committed six errors to the Colonels one.

“We’ve got to make the routine plays to win,” Mason said. “We’re picking up big hits when we need them but we’ve got to make routine plays on defense.”

Trinity jumped out to a 7-0 lead after three innings and looked like they were cruising to the next round.

However, Copiah scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, including a three-run homer by Scotty Reese, who was also the winning pitcher.

Both teams scored a single run in the sixth inning and Trinity entered the seventh trailing 9-8.

However, they scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead, including a two-run blast by Clint Easom, who finished 5-for-5 on the night.

“Clint is swinging the bat real well right now,” Mason said.

However, Copiah scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the score and send it to extras.

Trinity came right back with three runs in the top of the eighth and looked like they would once again close out the series, but the Colonels tied it up and with two outs, Guess ended the game with his bomb.

A loss of this magnitude could crush some teams, but Mason said he will lean on his seniors to get the team refocused for the elimination game tonight.

“We’ve got five senior leaders on this team,” Mason said. “There’s no doubt in my mind they will get this team focused and ready to play (tonight).”