Early pressure helps Trojans win state

Published 6:29 am Friday, May 17, 2013

All season, Charles Henderson’s philosophy has been start fast and finish strong. That mindset was never more visible, nor was it executed any better than in the two championship games against Brooks High School.

It all started with a straight steal of home by Hunter Baggett in the first inning of game 1 to give Charles Henderson a 1-0 lead.

Though the Trojans fell behind 2-1 in the first game, the third inning was the beginning of the end for Brooks. The pressure of power and speed was too great for the Lions as Charles Henderson reeled off six unanswered run on the way to a 7-4 win.

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“It was something that both Hunter and Joey [Denison] were familiar with, and you have to be fearless,” Charles Henderson head coach Derek Irons said of the straight steal. “If Hunter checks up at all, if he doesn’t trust Joey enough, he is out. Both those guys trust each other and got us on the board.”

The aggressive style of play continued through the series. Charles Henderson applied constant pressure, attacking the strike zone on the mound and making things happen on the bases.

The Trojans stole four bases in the two games but were a regular threat to put a play on in any situation.

Charles Henderson benefited from two swings of the bat by Chase Smartt in game two. The first was a two-out double that drove in a pair of runs in the first inning. In the second, Smartt  struck again, this time a grand slam to give the Trojans a six-run cushion.

“That’s our philosophy and we try to stick with it. We pride ourselves on finishing,” Irons said. “It was all about the start [in game two]. We came out and got some big hits from Chase and never looked back, that got us on the board. That took a lot of pressure off of us.”

The same philosophy that worked in two games against Brooks worked in 38 other victories by the Trojans.