Trenton, Chiefland try to set up all-area state final
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 11:37 p.m.
The last time Trenton and Chiefland met on the baseball field, the visiting Indians spoiled the Tigers' bid for a perfect regular season.
FHSAA State Tournament
At JetBlue Park, Fort Myers
Class 1A semifinals
Semifinal 1: Chiefland (17-7) vs. Panama City Bozeman (19-9), 4 p.m.
Web broadcast: fhsaa.playonsports.com/events/59114
Semifinal 2: Trenton (25-1) vs. Bonifay Holmes County (22-7), 7:30 p.m.
Web broadcast: fhsaa.playonsports.com/events/59115
Today, at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, spring training home of the Boston Red Sox, the two teams will play in separate Class 1A state semifinals, with the possibility of creating a rematch on Thursday for the classification's biggest prize. But first things first, taking care of today's matchup.
Chiefland (17-7), ranked No. 3 according to MaxPreps, will take on No. 4 Panama City Bozeman (19-9) at 4 p.m., followed by top-ranked Trenton (25-1) facing No. 2 Bonifay Holmes County (22-7) at 7:30 p.m.
While Chiefland and Trenton are both making their first appearances at the state tournament, Bozeman and Holmes County are back for their second straight trip to the final four. A year ago in Port St. Lucie, Union County defeated Holmes County 6-3 to capture the 1A title.
Here is a breakdown of today's 1A state semifinal matchups:
Chiefland vs. Bozeman: Kyle Parnell, in his 15th year as coach, has the Indians in their first state semifinal, the school's first since the softball team reached the state semifinals in 2007.
Chiefland has shown the ability to score a lot of runs, putting up double digits in 10 of its 17 wins, including 15 at Trenton and 12 against Baldwin in the District 7 final.
“I'm proud for these kids,” Parnell said. “The rural situation helped to eliminate some schools. But we are playing well at the right time of year.”
The Indians are led by a couple of seniors in shortstop/pitcher Tim Reidy (.430, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 21 RBIs) and center fielder Cole Parks (.395, 5 doubles, 5 triples, 24 RBIs). Freshman Trevor Castell has a team-leading 25 RBIs, and junior first baseman Payton Parnell is batting .382 with 19 RBIs.
Castell (4-3, 1.42 ERA) and Reidy (5-3, 1.97 ERA) have the most innings pitched for District 8 champion Chiefland, which beat Pierson Taylor (2-1) in the Region 4 semifinal and won at The Villages (8-1) in the regional final.
The Bucks, who have made the state playoffs the last seven years, lost to Holmes County 7-1 in last year's state semifinals.
Bozeman as a team bats just .262, compared to Chiefland's .328, and won both playoff games on the road after being upset by Liberty County in the District 4 final. The Bucks won at Sneads (6-1) and got their revenge at Liberty County (6-3) in the Region 2 final.
Junior Brandon Suttles is the team's top hitter (.424, 23 RBIs) and is 3-0 on the mound (2.60 ERA). Alec Aleywine has the team's only homer.
Trenton vs. Holmes County: The Tigers advanced to state after beating Bronson 13-1 in the Region 3 final last Friday. Trenton has given up just one run in its last four games.
This is the Tigers' first appearance at state while Holmes County, which lost to Union County in last year's state final (6-3), is making its fourth overall trip. The Blue Devils are still looking for their first state title in baseball.
“This means everything to us,” said Trenton coach Todd Bryant, who is in his fourth season. “They have worked really hard. For a lot of guys, since they were little kids, this is something they have wanted. Last year we fell a little short, losing to Mayo (Lafayette), in the regional semifinals. But the kids came back this year and really worked hard for those 25 wins.”
The Tigers have scored more runs (277) than any final four team, with 14 games in double figures. They have three of the top hitters in the area, led by senior catcher Clif Bryant (.519, 41 RBIs, 13 doubles, five homers), who had a three-run homer against Bronson. Junior shortstop Stephen Smith, who hit a grand slam against the Eagles, is batting .472 with 33 RBIs, nine doubles and five homers, and senior third baseman Hunter Parrish is batting .509 with 28 RBIs.
Senior Corbin Wiggins (1.20 ERA) and junior Jonathan Ward (0.27 ERA) are a combined 17-0 on the mound for Trenton.
Despite the No. 1 ranking, Todd Bryant said the tourney is wide open.
“I think it is anyone's tournament, anybody's game, as far as I am concerned,” he said. “We have one game to play, and win that, we can think about the next game.”
He said his team is not looking ahead to a possible rematch with Chiefland for the state title.
“We have a focus on Holmes, no doubt about it,” Bryant said. “We are going to throw the kitchen sink at them.”
The Blue Devils, whose coach Ron Dixon is in his 22nd year, have a trio of top pitchers in junior Kolton Ty Russ (7-2, 0.81 ERA, 92 Ks in 52 IP), senior Jordan Worthing (8-1, 1.00 ERA) and senior Koelton Forehand (5-0, 2.07 ERA).
Senior Jackie Miles Jr., who had two hits in the state final a year ago, has a team-leading .429 batting average with three homers for the Blue Devils. Forehand (27 RBIs, .326) and Worthing (25 RBIs, .350) are the team's top run producers.