Forney — With Caden Jacinto on the mound for Italy, Ryan Connor at catcher and John Byers at first base, Reid Jacinto at second base, Marvin Cox at shortstop and Cole Hopkins standing tall at third base to round Italy’s starting infield, the Gladiators began their regional quarterfinal matchup against the Trenton Trojans yesterday in Forney.
Tyler Anderson at right field, Chase Hamilton at center and Kevin Roldan in left field made up Italy’s starting outfield as players battled humidity despite a 7:00 p.m. start time.
Neither side was able to score any runs during the first-inning of play. Italy’s Byers began the top of the second with a single followed by Hamilton who bunted his way onto the bases. Defensive plays by Trenton quickly halted Italy’s momentum and the game remained scoreless.
Trenton struck the first blow in the bottom of the second-inning with lively bats to go up 1-0. Trenton’s one run lead held up going into the fifth despite a double into right field by Cole Hopkins in the top of the fourth-inning. After Italy struggle to tie the game in the top of the fifth-inning, Trenton again made some noise in the bottom half of the inning. A double and single put a Trojans runner at third base. Moments later, a low pitch careened off the front of the plate allowing the Trojans to slide home and increase their lead 2-0.
Trying to respond in the top of the sixth-inning, Italy’s Reid Jacinto drew a walk and advanced to second base after Marvin Cox was walked as well. With 2 outs, Byers lined a rocket past Trenton’s diving third baseman to ignite the crowd. As the ball continued into left field, Italy’s head coach Josh Ward gave Reid Jacinto the green light and the senior turned and sprinted home.
Unfortunately for the Gladiators, the Trojan throw from left was on the money at the plate and Reid Jacinto was tagged out before he could finish his slide into home. The play proved to be Italy’s best chance at getting on the board.
The Gladiator defense held in the bottom of the sixth to set up one last chance for Italy to tie, at the very least, in order to extend the game. However, Italy’s last three batters struck out swinging to end the game allowing Trenton to get the shutout win in game one, 2-0.
Along the way, nice plays were turned in by Connor who threw out a Trenton runner trying to steal second base, by Anderson who caught a popup in right, Cox who made an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left from his shortstop position, Roldan’s hustling plays in left field including going all out for a foul ball beyond the fence and Byers who was reliable at first base with Italy’s infielders covering grounders and throwing to first for several outs.
Italy and Trenton will return to Forney today and go at it in game two starting at 1:00 p.m. Italy is in a must win situation but seemed to exit the field with confidence that they could get the win in the rematch.
Be sure to attend the parade starting at 10:00 a.m. this morning to congratulate Italy’s state track members on their strong performance in Austin with the parade also serving as a sendoff for the baseball team.