It’s crunch time, and Trinity Christian College’s baseball team tried to avoid being crunched.
The Trolls dropped a 6-5 decision in 13 innings to St. Xavier University in the opening game of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament in Elgin on Saturday. That sent them into the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination carnival and a date with top-seeded University of St. Francis this past Monday.
The loss to the Cougars left Trinity 25-19 for the season — the victory total is a school record — and with something of a bitter taste.
The Trolls had a 1-0 lead in the early going against SXU, fell back 3-1, then tied it with two outs in the eighth inning on Steve Brewer’s two-RBI single. Victory could have been Trinity’s in the ninth, but it stranded a runner on third and regulation ended in a 3-3 deadlock.
Both the Cougars and Trolls scored once in the 10th, and SXU took a 6-4 lead on a pair of RBI singles in the top of the 13th after threatening in the previous inning. Trinity answered with a run in the bottom of the frame when Joe McCaw scored on a wild throw on Brewer’s one-out steal of second, but Brewer was stuck there as the next two batters were retired.
The Trolls finished third in the CCAC regular-season standings, thanks to 5-1 and 10-3 victories over Trinity International University. Trinity Christian piled up 19 hits in the twinbill, including McCaw’s fifth homer of the year. The nightcap was 9-0 after four innings and ended after seven.
• The Numbers (through Saturday): 25-19 overall, 17-10 CCAC, 10-7 home, 8-7 road, 7-5 neutral. Leaders: Joe McCaw, .385, 60 hits, .609 slugging percentage, 44 RBI, 5 HR; Lance Lammers, McCaw, 11 steals each; Benny Collesano, 5 wins; Vince Flores, 2.70 ERA; Brad Kopale, 3 saves; Danny Britt, 46 strikeouts.
• Schedule: TBA.
Losses to top-seeded Olivet Nazarene University and Calumet College of St. Joseph knocked the Trolls out of the CCAC Tournament following their victory over Cardinal Stritch Universty, but that didn’t end Trinity’s season.
The Trolls were invited to the National Christian College Athletic Association North Central Regional, which began at Bethel College this past Wednesday. Success there would lead to a berth for Trinity in the NCCAA nationals.
Beating Stritch 4-3 in the tournament opener gave the Trolls 24 wins this season, more than they had collected in the last two years combined. Trinity was 12-32 last season and 10-37 in 2012.
Even without any NCCAA results factored in, this is the Trolls’ best season in the last six. The previous high point was a 17-32 campaign in 2010.
Trinity and the Wolves were tied 3-3 after four innings. Adrianna Puente scored the eventual winning run in the fifth on a wild pitch after reaching on a walk and moving to third on Anna Phillips’ sacrifice bunt. The Trolls hung on for the win despite getting outhit 9-5.
Pitcher Mattie McGuire picked up the victory while fanning seven.
Trinity scored five runs against Olivet Nazarene, but the Tigers, fourth-ranked in the NAIA survey, tallied 13, including three in the first inning. All of the Trolls’ scoring came in a madcap second inning that featured five hits, including Tori Grzincic’s three-RBI double.
The defeat shoved Trinity into the consolation bracket, and it was shown the tournament door by Calumet College the following day via a 4-1 loss. It was 1-1 after two innings, the Trolls’ getting a run on Grzincic’s sacrifice fly that brought in Phillips, but the Crimson Wave kept scoring as they posted one run in the fourth and a pair in the fifth.
• The Numbers (through Saturday): 24-25 overall, 11-9 CCAC, 11-7 home, 4-9 road, 9-9 neutral. Leaders: Samantha Radunz, .444, .611 slugging percentage; Jayme Love, 57 hits; Tori Grzincic, 24 RBI, 3 HR; Anna Phillips, 8 steals; Brianna Brugioni, 9 wins, 80 strikeouts, 2.38 ERA; Mattie McGuire, 2 saves, 13 complete games.
• Schedule: TBA.
TRACK & FIELD
The Trolls went forth to the CCAC Championship and each team finished fourth.
The women saved their best for last, as the 1,600-meter relay unit triumphed in 4 minutes, 5.25 seconds, which was close to the quartet’s season-best time. Courtney Kalous, anchor of the relay team, took second in the 800 (2:18.51) and Anna Bos gave Trinity another runner-up position by clocking an 18:20.45 for 5,000 meters.
Ashley Jourdan, who like Kalous was also on the third-place 3,200-meter relay team, ran fourth in the 1,500 (4:44.45).
On the men’s side, Andy Reidsma set a 4:00.05 winning pace in the 1,500-run and also anchored the runner-up 3,200-relay squad (8:03.20). In addition, he was a member of the 1,600-relay contingent that took fourth.
Cody Velthuizen was third in the 3,000-steeplechase after posting a time of 10:00.52.
This weekend, the Trolls travel to Naperville for the North Central College Invitational.
The Trolls finished fifth in the CCAC Championship at George Dunne National in Oak Forest.
Logan Vos’ 36-hole aggregate of a 15-over-par 159 (77-82) led the Trinity charge and was good for a tie for 12th place individually. Freshman Jon Zandstra also carded a 77, but had to add it to an opening-round 90 for a 23-over 167 total. He tied for 31st.
No other Troll was able to break 80.
• Scoring leaders (season complete): Logan Vos, 75, Aug. 30, Sept. 20; Jonathan Zandstra, 76, Sept. 21, April 12; Spencer TenHaken, 77, April 11; Scott Ebbeling, 78, Aug. 31; Tim Hoeksema, 79, Aug. 31; Brian Deckinga, 79, April 16.