Trinity Saints hope to continue winning ways

Published 12:17 am Monday, April 27, 2009

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Saints caught fire on Friday in the first round of the MPSA Class AA playoffs, and now the Saints hope to keep that flame burning in round two.

Trinity faced elimination against Oak Forest after dropping the first game of the three-game opening round series at home, but swept a doubleheader on the road Friday to advance to round two.

“After that first game, we felt like we were the better team and just let one slip away,” Trinity coach Matt Mason said. “We went into Friday’s game with confidence that we could win both, and we played like that. We played confident, but not overconfident.”

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The key to Friday’s sweep was pitching and defense. The Saints gave up just two runs in the two games.

“Our pitchers got ahead of their hitters,” Mason said. “They threw strikes and didn’t walk anybody. They challenged hitters and we played good defense behind them.”

That trend must continue if the Saints are to advance past a hot-hitting Copiah Academy team in the second round.

The Colonels are 19-2 on the season and posted 12-8 and 12-5 victories over Brookhaven Academy in the first round of the playoffs.

Game 1 is today in Gallman with Game 2 Tuesday at Chester Willis Field in Natchez. An if-necessary Game 3 will take place Thursday back in Gallman.

“Copiah swings the bats extremely well,” Mason said of the Colonels. “They are one of the better hitting teams in the MPSA. I don’t know for sure, but I think they’ve hit at least 35 or 40 home runs this year.”

One thing that helps Copiah with the homers is the short fences at their home field.

Mason only wishes that two games could be played at spacious Chester Willis Field rather than just one.

“The home game is a big advantage for us,” Mason said. “We’ve got a good outfield that runs well and catches fly balls. We’ll have to work hard to get a lot of ground ball outs at their place. We can’t let them get the ball up in the air.”

With Trinity’s top two pitchers — Jordan Dossett and Givonni Dent — having pitched Friday in the doubleheader, Mason will turn to freshman Jake Winston to toe the rubber in tonight’s Game 1.

But starting a freshman is no surprise. Trinity starts three freshman and four sophomores in the everyday lineup, and Mason said Winston will be ready.

“Jake has played a lot of baseball,” Mason said. “I think he’ll be up to the challenge. He’s got a good off-speed breaking ball. Hopefully he can use that pitch and keep the Copiah batters off balance.”