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Twice As Nice: Trinity Christian Repeats As State Champions

The two-time defending Class 2A state champion Trinity Christian Warriors.

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When the final out landed in the glove and the conclusion was decided, Trinity Christian manager Miguel Cuello finally realized something he had wondered was possible all season as his Warriors won their second straight state title. Despite trailing early on, The Warriors got the bats going to support the strong start of eighth-grader Irving Carter and stormed to an 8-3 victory over the Trinity Christian-Deltona Eagles to win the Class 2A state championship for the second year in-a-row.

“It’s unbelievable, the sense that you get of winning,” Cuello said. “Some of the guys have two rings now from winning back-to-back, and some guys, this is their last year. So this is great; it is absolutely great.”

The Warriors (22-6) struck for the decisive runs in the fourth inning to erase a 1-0 deficit and take a lead they never relinquished. They tacked on three more runs in the fourth and another in the seventh to pull away to victory, despite being held hitless the first time through the batting order. The Eagles (21-9) relied on a heavy dose of off-speed pitches against the vaunted Warriors lineup, but as the game went on the victors showed they could adapt and find ways to get the job done.

“The second time around, my guys adjust,” Cuello said. “I knew we were coming back, and they adjusted.”

The Warriors’ seniors celebrate with the 2A state trophy.

The Warriors now have as any state titles as any other program in Palm Beach County, but Cuello admits that this run they are may only just be getting started.

“The first one you win everybody expects you to come back, and these guys had it from the beginning of the year,” Cuello said. “They asked me if I thought we could make it back and I told them that I know they can, and we worked and put up a big schedule and it worked out in our favor this year. The biggest point of this whole game was the kid that started on the mound, who is an eighth-grader. You send out a big message to the other schools out there that this kid is here for four more years, and he just pitched a great game. Having Angel Tiburcio as a senior next year and with him on the mound too, we’re thinking about a three-peat. We have six core players coming back as seniors who are all experienced, so it just keeps on going.”

Carter did not carry himself like the youngster that he is. The right-hander went five strong innings to earn the victory, allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out four. Making only his second start of the season in the biggest game of his life, Carter admitted to feeling some nerves. Yet he persevered through those jitters to make his first career high school victory something he could never forget.

“That was unbelievable, just something that happened that you could not describe,” Carter said. “It was my first state game and I got the butterflies a little bit, but then in the second, third and fourth I was settled down. Then they got me those runs and that was a relief for me right there. We train so hard and practice everyday, and to have this moment right here is just unbelievable for us.”

Warriors catcher Lernix Williams held on for the out, and the big momentum swing followed.

The Eagles were aggressive against the young hurler right away to grab a 1-0 lead in the bototm of the first. Colin Curtis and William Rosado lined back-to-back singles to center field to start the frame and Trenton Brickhouse drilled a shot deep to right field for an RBI single.

A pivotal turning point came in the bottom of the second with the Eagles threatening to break the game open. Beau Maples lined a lead-off double past third base, then advanced to third on a ground out to first base. Edel Morales got a grounder up the middle, but Warriors shortstop Kaeber Rog gunned it home for catcher Lernix Williams to apply the tag. Morales stole second base before Curtis lined a single to shallow center field, where Morales raced around third as Tyler Hall rifled the ball to Williams. Morales collided with the backstop as he attempted to score, driving over Williams at the plate. But the catcher raised his glove and ensured the umpire of the out.

“When Tyler got the ball I just knew that he has a really good arm, so him loading up to throw like that I knew I could put a good tag on him,” Williams said. “It just so happened that he trucked me, but I was able to hold onto the ball. I didn’t know if he knew that I had the ball or not, because I knew the umpire saw me fall down. But I had to make sure that we got the out, and we did, and the momentum switched right there. After that play Tyler got us hyped, everyone got hyped and that was when we started to put runs on the board.”

The first four batters reached base in the fourth to turn things around for the Warriors. Bertram Murray reached on an error, Tiburcio lined a double into left field and Rog got them on the board with an RBI single to center. David Yourke was next with a single to center that plated two and Hall chipped in an RBI double to left to make it 4-1 in their favor.

The Eagles responded in the fifth to cut the deficit in half, before the Warriors pulled away with three runs in the sixth. Yourke scored on an RBI single from Sherson Randt, who later scored on a wild pitch, and Hall also scored from an RBI ground out from Serwin Kastaneer. Rog chipped in one last run in the seventh when he came in on a sac-fly RBI from Randt.

The Eagles refused to go quietly even when down to their final swings. Morales connected for his second hit of the game and worked his way around the bases to come in on a sac-fly RBI from Daniel Nugent. But the rally ended after that as reliever Christian Mracna induced a fly ball to left field for the final out.

Warriors tie the 2A state final at 1…

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Trinity Christian goes back to back!

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