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Inside the Batter’s Box: Trinity looks to overcome veteran losses

Trinity’s Cade Wells started the season in the cleanup slot Saturday against Amite School Center. Wells and his teammates admit the young team must work hard and pull together quickly. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Trinity’s Cade Wells started the season in the cleanup slot Saturday against Amite School Center. Wells and his teammates admit the young team must work hard and pull together quickly. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

What happens when a coach takes young football and basketball players and tries to form a baseball team? Trinity head coach Elliot Meng is hoping for a positive result.

He hasn’t gotten one thus far. As Trinity played its first two games of the season against Amite School Center in a doubleheader Saturday, sloppy play generated two bad losses. But in reality, Meng expected it; he could count the number of Trinity baseball practices on one hand.

“We’re very young, but we’ve got some talent out here,” Meng said.

Meng will slide into the head coaching role for Trinity baseball in place of Zach Rogel this upcoming season, but in reality, Meng was the one coaching the team last season, as Rogel put him in a position to lead from the beginning.

“I did not realize I would love coaching this much,” Meng said. “(Zach) was in the position of head coach last year, but he kind of let me run things during the season.”

Before the Saints threw out the first pitch of their 2015 baseball season, sophomore Cade Wells, who batted cleanup against Amite Saturday, said mistakes were expected.

“It’s going to be a rough start, but as the underclassmen start getting it, it should go along smoothly,” Wells said.

Little did he know, the team would commit eight errors, hit six Amite batters and walk seven in the 22-2 loss in the season opener. Like his coach, Wells expected growing pains, since most of the last year’s starters are not present this season, especially from the pitcher’s mound. The team boasts three new starting pitchers.

Hoping to fill huge voids will be the Caston brothers, as both Kevontaye and Jakarius have the ability to pitch and can play multiple positions in the field. Kevontaye said he has multiple pitches to choose from, and his brother throws hard but has to get his arm ready for a long season.

“We have to get used to pitching a lot again,” Caston said. “I can throw probably five or so pitches, but he hasn’t pitched in a while, so it’ll be a process.”

Joining the Castons on the mound this season will be Jacob Netterville and Cole Switzer. The early plan for Trinity is to use Kevontaye, Jakarius and Netterville in a starting pitcher rotation and use Switzer in a relief role.

Kevontaye, who had two steals in his Trinity baseball debut, will lead off for the Saints, with his brother batting in the three-hole and Wells batting cleanup.

“We’re going to play with the lineup in the early goings,” Meng said. “Kevontaye is one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen, and he’s a sophomore so it’s amazing.”

Meng has his work cut out for him with the lack of experience on the roster, but like Trinity did in football and basketball, Meng is expecting the young group’s athleticism to translate into wins as the season progresses.

“We have to mold as a team, so that will take a little while,” Meng said.