Trenton captures third straight district title


Trenton, the defending Class 1A state champions, defeated Bronson 5-1 to win its third straight district title on Friday.

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Published: Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11:30 p.m.

TRENTON — Bronson outhit Trenton in Friday's District 6-1A baseball championship, but the Tigers outhustled the Eagles and took advantage of early opportunities.

The result, Trenton won its third consecutive district title, getting solid pitching from Kyle Wiggins and Stephen Smith to beat Bronson 5-1 at Bryant Field.

The Tigers (19-3) scored all of their runs in the opening two innings and had at that point just one hit. Bronson contributed three walks, three errors, two batters hit by pitch and Trenton stole four bases. Stephen Smith set the tone early when he opened the game with a walk, stole second and third and scored on an errant throw home.

“Our motto is we need three or four (runs),” Trenton first-year coach Mac Rendek said. “With our pitching, four is the magic number for us.

“We have a lot of team speed. If we put the ball in play and put some pressure on it, I don't care how we score them, as long as we score them. Stephen Smith set the tone in the first inning that we would be the aggressor tonight. The good thing is, although we didn't have a lot of hits, we were still able to score runs.”

The Tigers finished with four hits and had just two runs batted in, with the remainder coming as a result of Eagle errors.

Trenton scored four runs in the second, getting an RBI single from Mill Lang and RBI groundout from Michael Smith, as Bronson starter David Dees was pulled after one out in the second for Tim Gibson. Gibson gave up one unearned run, but only three hits in 4 2/3 innings pitched.

“The first two innings we helped them out a lot,” Eagles coach Allen Strickland said. “They are a great team and they are not going to hurt themselves. We knew that going in, if we were going to beat them, we would have to beat them. We gave them too much the first two innings.

“He (Gibson) had closed for us yesterday and Dees had closed against Trenton the last time and threw well, so we wanted to start with him because they haven't seen him but for that short of time. He sort of struggled with his command. Gibson did a great job, we lean on him quite a bit.”

Wiggins (3-1), a senior went five innings, scattering six hits and striking out seven. He gave up an unearned run in the third, where Bronson (13-8) had its best offensive threat, getting two hits and with the Tigers committing two errors.

Stephen Smith, who will be playing his collegiate baseball at Virginia Military Institute, came in relief for the final two innings and allowed no hits and three strikeouts.

Bronson's Landon Smith was the only batter who had two hits, both singles, and the Eagles finished with six. Trenton didn't allow a walk in the game while Bronson had four.

Both teams will have 10 days before the regional semifinals May 6. Trenton will host District 5 runner-up Hamilton County (11-9) while Bronson will travel to District 5 champion Lafayette (15-7).

The Tigers are following a similar path as a year ago when they played Hamilton County in the regional semifinals. That path led to the state championship, beating rival Chiefland in the final.

“With 1A a round short, the break is kind of tough on us hitting-wise,” said Rendek, who was an assistant under Todd Bryant for two years before taking over once Bryant decided to resign after last year. “It allows us to get healthy. Hamilton is a good enough team that can beat you on any night, so we have to play our best. It sets up our pitching, so we will thrown Jon Ward on that Tuesday. This team has won it all, so they know what it takes. But you always worry about a little lapse with that much time off.”

Contact Larry Savage at 352-374-5050 or larry.savage@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/sunpreps

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