Westfield’s Connor Doles stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning with his team trailing 5-4. Game 1 of the second round of the GISA Class 3A baseball playoffs was up for grabs.
But the Hornets couldn’t catch a break. Doles drove a hard liner at Trinity Christian–Sharpsburg shortstop Matt Holloway, who caught the ball and then turned a double play at second to secure the game for the Lions.
That sequence set up an opportunity for Trinity Christian to advance with a win in Game 2, and it did, defeating Westfield 8-4.
Trinity Christian jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first game after the first as its first three batters reached base. Westfield settled in, scoring one in the second and three in third behind an Owen Jones home run to take its first lead.
The Lions tied the game in the fourth and then add another run in the top of the sixth, which ultimately was the game-winner.
Westfield didn’t let Game 1’s final sequence linger. It scored four runs in the first inning of Game 2, highlighted by Michael Fitzpatrick’s two-run home run.
But the Lions one-upped the Hornets’ first-inning performance. After a single by Michael Young loaded the bases, the Lions scored two runs off a fielding error at second base; and they added three more runs in the inning off three more singles.
Westfield — specifically its bats — never recovered as the Hornets didn’t score another run. The Lions added three more runs —two in the third off a single and wild pitch and one in the fifth off another single.
Three who mattered
Jones: Westfield’s second baseman drove in three of the team’s eight runs, including going 1-of-3 in Game 1 with a home run, a sacrifice bunt and a hit-by-pitch.
Holloway: Trinity Christian’s shortstop made the game-winning play in Game 1, then went 2-of-4 with two RBI in Game 2.
Brenan Burks: The Lions’ designated hitter performed well from the plate in Game 2, going 2-of-2 with two RBI on top of being hit by a pitch.
Westfield had a chance to steal Game 1 after being down one run with two outs and no men on base but couldn’t pull off the victory. Holloway fielded the hard line drive and made the double play that gave the Lions a series-changing victory.
Angry at the umpires: Westfield head coach Rob Fitzpatrick was visibly angry at the umpires in Game 2. At one point, Trinity Christian’s first-base coach and Fitzpatrick exchanged words. Eventually, the home plate umpire called a meeting between the teams’ coaches and calmed the situation.
Struggles from the mound: The Hornets used five pitchers in the two games and allowed Trinity Christian to score 10 earned runs off 23 hits.
Bats falling asleep: Trinity Christian had 10 more hits than Westfield’s 13 on Friday. The Hornets registered two hits in Game 2’s first inning, then managed to add only three more in the remaining six innings.
They said it
Fitzpatrick on end of first game: “We did a good job of putting ourselves in a position to get back in the ballgame. We were unfortunate. … That’s baseball. That’s playoff baseball, and that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Fitzpatrick on lack of hitting in Game 2 after first inning: “That was probably the most frustrating part of (Friday night). We didn’t play great baseball. We did a lot of good things, but we just didn’t play great baseball (Friday), and Trinity came in here and played two good ballgames.”
Fitzpatrick on the umpires: “It’s a pressure situation … They did a good job. The umpires did a good job. The frustration level can rise at times between things you’re doing as a coach to what the players are doing, to the umpires.”
Fitzpatrick on key issue from games: “There were times when we hit it well, but I don’t think we pitched as good as we could have (Friday). We didn’t play as good of defense as we could have (Friday). Our bats were there at times, but they were spotty, and we just didn’t stay consistent throughout (Friday). And they did.”