Rollins powers Trojans past Bulldogs
Despite struggling early, the Wesleyan Christian Academy baseball team’s bats came alive when they needed to late.
The Trojans, ranked No. 1 in the NCISAA 3A, scored all six of their runs over the final three innings — including four in the seventh, keyed by Johnny Rollins’ three-run double — to overcome a three-run deficit and beat Trinity 6-4 in a nonconference game Saturday afternoon in Trinity.
“We hit a lot of balls hard early right at guys,” Wesleyan coach Scott Davis said. “So, anytime that happens, it seems to come in droves. We kept battling in there against their kid and stuck with it, and we pitched well enough to win the game. ... We hung in there, didn’t give up and we were able to make some changes down the stretch to get some good matchups.”
After the Bulldogs led 4-2 through six innings, the Trojans (8-1) picked up one in the sixth on an RBI double by Rollins and one on an RBI triple to the wall in right-center by Hayden Manuel with one out in the seventh. A bunt single and intentional walk then loaded the bases for Rollins.
Rollins, who finished 3 for 4 with three doubles in a row and four RBIs, then ripped a double perfectly into the gap in right-center to score all three runners and give Wesleyan a 6-4 lead after it managed just three hits through the first five innings.
“I got the take first pitch, where he threw a curveball,” Rollins said. “Then he threw a fastball over the plate and I just hit it. I was really pumped up, the team got pumped up, and it was great. I think it shows we have a lot of heart and we want to win and we want to compete. So, it’s a great win heading into our tournament in South Carolina.”
Zach Michalski (1-0) earned the win in 3 1/3 innings relief for the Trojans, who play four tournament games starting Thursday at Blythewood High in Columbia, S.C. Riley Isenhour got the save with two strikeouts and a pickoff in the seventh, while Greg White also had a fifth-inning RBI double.
Bryce Lance (1-2) took the loss in relief of starter Dylan Seay. Matt Jackson, Matt McQuaigue and Troy Whittington each had two hits, while Colin Rosenbaum, Jackson and Seay each had an RBI for Trinity (6-6), which plays Tuesday and Wednesday in the Copperhead Classic in Asheboro.
“I’m proud of the guys because they fought for seven innings,” Bulldogs coach Rob Shore said. “But it was the same opportunities we had the other night against Wheatmore that we had today. Bases loaded, no outs and we can’t get the runs in, can’t get that big hit. There were defensive plays too where I felt like we gave them one or two of their runs.
“Wesleyan’s one of the best teams in the state and eventually they’re going to start hitting the ball. We had opportunities to score more than four runs and once again we wasted those opportunities. And I think that’s where the game was lost. I feel good holding them to six runs, but it’s just that we were winning 4-2 going into the top of the seventh.”
Trinity scored four over the fourth and fifth innings to lead in what was a pitchers duel between Lane Kowalski of Wesleyan and Seay. The Bulldogs scored off a two-out error and a bases-loaded walk, then two off Jackson’s double and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch before the Trojans rallied.