It has hardly been a rebuilding year for the Titans, however, as they maintain their spot among the state elite.
Despite losing nine seniors – five of them who are now playing NCAA Division I baseball – Blessed Trinity appears to once again be among the top contenders for the AAA championship with an 18-7 overall record and 12-1 mark in Region 6AAA (A).
“We lost a lot of seniors last year who played a lot,” Blessed Trinity coach Andy Harlin said. “I think a lot of people weren’t counting us in, but we knew what we had. We had some good young guys coming back and we have really good leadership in our senior class. A lot of guys were covered up by a pretty talented [senior] class last year and are getting a chance to show what they can do this year. I’m very pleased with how we’re playing right now, for sure.”
This year’s Blessed Trinity team has continued a winning tradition that has included last year’s state semifinal appearance as well as five quarterfinal showings in the previous six seasons and a state championship in 2006.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of great players,” Harlin said. “But, I think more importantly, just great kids. They work hard. It’s like every group who comes through does not want to be the one who drops the baton. It just passes from one class to the next, one team to the next. They all want to keep the tradition going. They all come in and work in the weight room and prepare themselves for the season. They play hard, but they prepare very hard. They all want to be the one to carry the torch on and having that solid foundation works every year.”
As usual, the Titans have maintained their success with a strong emphasis on pitching and defense.
“It begins and ends with pitching and defense and we try to stress those things,” Harlin said. “Most of our pitchers who pitched for us graduated last year and so we had a lot of guys who were new to the pitching staff this year. But they’ve all done a great job. Our starters have done a great job; our bullpen has done a great job. They know how important that position is. We spend a lot of time working on it. And we also work a lot on defense, because there’s no backup plan for bad pitching and bad defense. I think if you have those two things, then the offense takes care of itself. The pitching and defense has been really, really good.”
Senior Ryan Young has led the way as the ace of the Blessed Trinity pitching staff and is one of the key players in a strong senior class that includes catcher/outfielder Clay Massa, first baseman/pitcher Nate Lomax, second baseman Bryson Jenkins and outfielders Paul Dwyer and Grant Hormuth.
As the Titans wrap up the regular season and begin their quest for a state title, Harlin said they are not looking too far ahead.
“The big thing is to take it one step at a time and the biggest game for us is today,” Harlin said. “We’ll worry about the other stuff as it comes along.