Trojan baseball team comes out on top in friendly 14-inning contest

Published 5:43 pm Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Trojans baseball team took the field for the first time since the spring against the Ontario Blue Jays and came out in high sprits as they finished their first of two seven-inning halves against the Blue Jays winning 8-3 and the second round of seven innings winning 8-4.

Head coach for the Trojans, Bobby Pierce, said the team always appreciated the Blue Jays stopping through Troy for a friendly game.

“We always appreciate the Ontario Blue Jays stopping through Troy,” Pierce said. “They’ll play Florida State tomorrow as they make their way down to Jupiter. We appreciate them coming through. It breaks up the monotony of fall intrasquad games, so we always appreciate that.”

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The Blue Jays scored early in the top of the second inning, but the Trojans retaliated with a score in the bottom of the second as well as a bottom of the third inning.

The Blue jays made up for their one-point deficit scoring two points in the top of fourth, but after a scoreless bottom of the fourth for the Trojans and a top of the fifth for the Blue Jays the Trojans responded with five runs in the fifth inning and one in the bottom of the sixth, all of which went unanswered by the Blue Jays.

The second round of seven innings ran quick compiled of mostly three-ups and three-downs for both teams, but Tripp Calhoun, catcher for the Trojans, had a two-run RBI in the bottom of the fourth inning pushing the momentum for the inning. The Trojans left the inning leading the Blue Jays 7-2. The Blue Jays retaliated with a score in the top of the sixth. After scoring in the bottom of the sixth, the Trojans seemed to have run away with the ball game only needing three outs to seal the deal. The Blue Jays were able to score twice in the top of the seventh, but no more and the Trojans were able to walk away with a win over the Blue Jays.

Throughout both seven-inning halves, offensively the Trojans were able to control the game with well-placed line drives and balls landing within the gap between players or just shy of the defenders, something Pierce said the team had worked on during the off season.

“For us, trying to get a good pitch to hit, work a count, what we call staying inside the ball so you can hit it squarely, is really all you can control as a hitter,” Pierce said. “Where that ball goes, whether or not a base hit or gets in the gap, is something that’s just left up to baseball, but the more times that you do that and hit a ball squarely the more times they are going to reach a gap and get through the hole.”

The Trojans were also able to show off how they handled different situations during game play against a competing team beyond just intrasquad practice. Pierce said this was had been a good showing for his Trojans and said the team was in a decent play for October.

“I thought what I saw today was something I would hope to see,” Pierce said. “People were just playing on the same page. I thought the new players on the program had kind of picked up, looked fairly relaxed today. Without, sometimes, all the new information is a little overwhelming for a new guy coming in. SO I thought they looked fairly relaxed, settled in and did most of the things that we’re trying to do pretty accurately.”

Although the Ontario Blue Jays is an amateur baseball program out of Canada to help develop youth baseball players, Pierce said the showing had been a lesson for the Trojans.

“After today, I don’t really have one area picked out that we must improve on,” Pierce said. “We didn’t quite hit some of the two-strikes pitches that threw a hitter away as much as we would have liked and then our quality of at bat percentage was probably below what we would like to see in the spring. Like I said, it’s early.”

Even every detail was not where Pierce would have like it to be, Pierce said it was early for the Trojans and was looking forward to regular season play come February.

“I think I’ve been pretty excited over the last couple of weeks with our team,” Pierce said. “I see some things that I really like, and that’s no prediction of the season coming up. I like to see kids that like to stay after it. They work hard. They continue to get better, and then as we start the spring and start to see competition day after day, the grind of a baseball season, then you begin to see if you have a chance to play for a championship and move into regional play and that type of thing, but for now, in October, I’ve really appreciated this team’s willingness to work, come to work every day.”

The regular baseball season will kickoff for the Trojans on Feb. 13 against the Northwestern State Demons.