The Wildcats lost Monday, ending their season in a 7-3 loss to Henderson County at Madisonville’s Elmer Kelley Stadium. Trigg hasn’t won a region tournament game in 24 years.
“We knew Henderson was a good ball team,” Trigg head coach Jackie Sholar said. “There among the best in the region year in and year out. They’re used to winning, and we’re trying to get there to that level. It used to be if we came to region and played Henderson, we’d get beat by 20 runs in a 5-inning game. Now, they know it’s a game, and that’s a stepping stone.”
The defeat came six days after Trigg lost 7-6 to Crittenden County in the 5th District Tournament Championship.
In both games, the Wildcats failed to capitalize on several key scoring chances.
Monday, Henderson scored the first run in the bottom of the second, and Trigg answered with two in the top of the third on a bases-loaded walk to Donald Bush and a sacrifice fly by Will Stagner.
Both runs came after a 20-minute rain delay that started with Bush at the plate with a 3-1 count and one out. Sholar said not getting more runs out of that opportunity was key to the loss.
“It looked like we had the momentum a little bit,” Sholar said. “I don’t make excuses, but it may have hurt us a little bit. With the guys we had coming up, we’d hope to score more runs than that, but that’s the way it goes. It seemed like we hit the ball well against teams we’re supposed to beat, but we just couldn’t get that big hit against the other teams.”
Neither team scored again until Colonel right fielder Ben Blaize led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run. After Stagner hit Myles Scott with a pitch in the next at bat, Robert Morris was hit by a pitch but called back to the plate when the umpire determined Morris didn’t make an attempt to get away from the ball. Henderson’s first and third-base coaches were each removed from the field after arguing the call.
The incident apparently sparked something within the Colonels’ dugout. Morris later sacrificed Scott to second, and after Codie Abbott reached after being hit by a pitch, Jordan Cessna smacked a two-run double and scored on a single by Gabe Pirtle.
“Will wasn’t trying to hit anybody,” Sholar said. “We definitely don’t want to put the bottom of the order on like that.”
Trigg returned fire in the top of the fifth when Shane Banks hit a one-out double, was sacrificed to third by Mitch Rogers and scored on a wild pitch by Christian McHatton. Josh Burgett came to the mound for Henderson to finish the fifth inning and allowed only three more Wildcat baserunners the rest of the way, none of which advanced past first base.
Henderson added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Trigg left six runners on base in the contest – a significant number, but not nearly as many as last Tuesday in the district championship game against Crittenden County.
The Wildcats stranded 15 runners against the Rockets, nine of which were in scoring position. Trigg left the bases loaded in the third, sixth and seventh innings.
The Rockets took off quickly, rocking Bush for four runs in the top of the first. The first three Wildcats reached base in the bottom of the frame, but the threat was short-lived. Rogers scored on a double play by Stagner, and R.J. Sholar grounded out to end the inning.
Crittenden added its fifth run in the second but was quiet from then until the seventh.
Banks scored in the third on a two-out, bases-loaded infield single by Alex Sadler.
Trigg appeared to take control in the fourth. Josh Green led off the inning with a single, Rogers and Banks each reached on errors to load the bases, and after Bush popped out, Stagner put the Wildcats ahead with a grand slam over the left field fence.
But Trigg wouldn’t score again, and Crittenden got to Stagner in the seventh when Joey Pluskota smacked a two-out, two-run single to put the Rockets ahead.
Trigg loaded the bases with one out in the seventh after a single by Banks, a double by Bush and an intentional walk to Stagner, but Sholar struck out and Hunter Smillie flew out to third to end the game.
Sholar said the team had a good year overall, but the underclassmen must work hard to replace seniors Banks, Bush, Stagner, Green, Jordan P’Pool and Tyler Thomas.
“Shane, Donald and Will are three guys we can’t replace,” Sholar said. “They’ve been with the team three or four years. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. We can put someone in their spots, but that’s three sets of shoes you can’t fill. It’s like a family to me.”