By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published May 3, 2007
This time last year the Blessed Trinity Titans were 16-4, compared with this year’s record of 13-7. And the Titans would be happy to hoist the state baseball championship trophy over their heads the same way they did after the 2006 season.
Blessed Trinity has been challenged this season as the Class AAA school took on some larger Class AAAAA high school opponents outside their region, including the likes of high schools such as Collins Hill, Lassiter, Kell and Parkview. They lost by as many as six runs in one game and by an average of three runs in the others. Coach Andy Harlin said, “We feel like players learn the game in a hurry playing against strong competition. We want them to get in the habit of playing at the same level of concentration regardless of who they are playing.” He added, “We also wanted to see good pitching day in and day out, and get our rotations figured out. Playing those caliber teams is going to help us figure things out in a hurry and build confidence.” Over spring break the team was also challenged through participating in the 57th Annual Mike Morrow Invitational High School Baseball Tournament in California. The tournament, which is sponsored by the Lions Clubs of San Diego, featured 118 teams from eight states. It is promoted as “the oldest and largest competition of its kind in the U.S.” Bringing the team closer together, the California trip allowed them to see how they measured up against teams in the West Coast tournament. Blessed Trinity made it all the way to the semifinals, where they lost to San Diego’s Point Loma High School. In between catching fly balls, force plays, pickoff moves, running the bases and the other intricacies of baseball, Blessed Trinity found time to visit the beach and tour the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. They visited Petco Park, home of the National League San Diego Padres, where they were able to go on the field. They also attended a San Diego State University baseball game. Sitting near San Diego State University’s dugout, they had a chance to see head coach Tony Gwynn, a former San Diego Padre right fielder and soon to be Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, lead his team to victory over the University of New Mexico. The Blessed Trinity coaching staff kicked off the trip by taking the team to Palm Sunday Mass at the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala. The 238-year-old mission, founded by Father (Blessed) Junipero Serra, is California’s first church. For some of the players like sophomore Matt Crisafi, attending Mass at the mission was the highlight of the trip. Crisafi, the team’s first baseman, said, “It was just a great experience being there with the team, and the people were so welcoming, plus the history of the church. I will never forget that.” “We did a lot, and for a couple of 16-year-old kids on spring break to say that going to Mass was the highlight makes me more proud of our school and our kids than if we won another state championship,” said Harlin. Blessed Trinity has not lost a game since they returned from San Diego. With a seven-game winning streak, the Titans are 9-1 in region play and will face regional opponents in the four remaining games on their schedule. Harlin would like the team to remember the big game atmosphere they have previously confronted and to embrace the pressure that comes with trying to win back-to-back state titles.