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Saints win District 6-A championship

FERRIDAY — Mitch Ashmore knows what it’s like to coach district tournament championship games at Huntington’s baseball field. He did so for nearly two decades as the Hounds’ head coach.

But on Saturday afternoon, Ashmore was coaching Trinity Episcopal on the very same field in the MAIS District 6-A Tournament title game. And once again the Saints made quick work of their opponent as they defeated the Tensas Academy Chiefs 13-1 in just four innings.

“We just try to go out and play solid baseball no matter who we’re playing. That’s the important thing,” Ashmore said. “We were playing to get that No. 1 seed. That was our goal.”

After a scoreless first inning, the Saints took control of the game with a six-run rally in the bottom of the second. Trevor Faust gave them the lead for good with a two-run home run and Kent King followed that by blasting a grand slam home run. And just like that, any chances of the second-seeded Chiefs pulling off the upset were over.

“The ball that Trevor hit was what got us going. Kent King’s home run was a big home run,” Ashmore said. “Everybody else started hitting. Hitting’s contagious.”

Even before Trinity Episcopal (16-5) took control of the game in the bottom of the second, Jake Winston was having a solid performance on the mound. He just needed some offense to work with. And that’s just what he got.

Winston pitched all four innings and allowed just one run on two hits, struck out six and walked just two. And the defense behind him was stellar as well, committing no errors.

“Jake threw well. He threw a lot of strikes,” Ashmore said. “Jake’s only a sophomore. He’s only going to get better. He gave us a chance to win. Overall, it was a very solid performance from him.”

As for the defensive effort, Ashmore said, “We talk about that a lot. That’s what I want our guys to realize. We stress pitching and defense and hustle all the time. When you get to the playoffs, that’s the main factor in whether you’re playing or not.”

Tensas Academy scored one run in the top of the fourth before Trinity Episcopal scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to end the game by way of the 10-run mercy rule.

David Leake had a rough outing for the Chiefs on the mound. He allowed 10 runs on five hits, three walks and three hit batsmen. Ryan Newroth allowed three runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Tensas Academy got to the championship game by defeating host Huntington 20-8 in four innings in what could very well be its final baseball game ever.

Both Trinity Episcopal and Tensas Academy advanced to the first round of the Class A South State Playoffs, which begin next Tuesday in best-of-three series.

Trinity Episcopal will take on District 7 No. 2 seed Riverdale Academy. Game 1 will take place Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Riverdale. Tensas Academy will go up against District 7 champion Riverfield Academy with Game 1 of that series at Tensas Academy.

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