A plethora of unanswered runs from Trinity Knights baseball powered the team to victory on Tuesday over the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals.
The Knights followed up Monday’s win with another impressive performance, winning the game 8-1 at the Hart baseball complex.
Knights sophomore John Carlson led all batters, going a perfect 4-of-4 at the plate, as he finished just a home run shy of the cycle, one day after throwing his second straight no-hitter this season.
The Cardinals’ bats woke up just a day after being no-hit as SCCS jumped on the board first. Pitcher Cayden Rappleye was brought in for the score off an RBI single from left fielder Noah Orefich.
Carlson opened up the eight unanswered runs scoring frenzy by himself, tripling in his first at-bat before tying the game with a run after a wild pitch.
Trinity then took control of the game in the third inning. The Knights started the third with back-to-back walks before Luke Backes smacked an RBI double for the go-ahead run. More heads-up baserunning led to more scores for the Knights as pitcher Noah Visconti capitalized on Rappleye losing the ball.
Visconti finished with the win after five innings of work on the mound. The sophomore righty allowed just three hits and one run while fanning seven Cardinals. Visconti and catcher Rocco Izzo also showed some solid defense, picking off multiple SCCS baserunners.
Carlson flexed more baserunning skills in the fourth inning. After leading off the inning with a double, the third baseman saw an opening to score in his opposing pitcher’s throwing routine. Carlson sprinted in and stole home to put Trinity up 5-1.
“We definitely take pride in the little things,” said Knights head coach Trevor Brown. “Our pitchers holding runners, and being able to throw guys out. I don’t know if it was technically stealing home, but it was something that John and I were actually talking about the last couple of games. When we see an opportunity like that it seemed like the catcher wasn’t firing it back to the pitcher. So with two outs I saw it as a good opportunity to try something like that and it worked out.”
Rappleye was also solid over his five innings on the hill. The Cardinals pitcher gave up a handful of runs but stranded plenty of Knights baserunners, keeping the game within reach for the offense. Rappleye also finished his day with seven strikeouts.
“I think mentally Cayden’s been getting better and better in every practice and every game,” SCCS head coach Wyatt Waldron said. “He’s just trying to focus on the next pitch, not focusing on the pitch before, which I think has really helped him. He’s a great kid and great athlete. He’s gonna come up there and work every play.”
Visconti held SCCS scoreless through five, paving the way for senior reliever Brandon Chase. The senior allowed just one hit and struck out five Cardinals in his short two-inning outing. SCCS nearly found a two-out rally to close the game but Chase stranded a pair of Cardinals on base with a strikeout to win the game.
“We’ve had some really good performances with our pitching in the last couple of days,” Brown said. “Yesterday we had John throw his second no hitter in a row which I thought was pretty cool. I think the pitchers are confident in their defense behind them so it’s kind of given them a little bit of a more relaxed feel out there. They know they just need to throw strikes and they’ve got the defense behind them.”
Carlson, Visconti and Backes all finished with multi-hit days to lead the Knights’ offense, while the rest of the team still found ways to get on base.
“We’re striving to get better every day,” Brown said. “I do think our bats have been pretty solid throughout the year. But I think a lot of the guys, especially in the middle lineup, are really starting to see the ball well and a lot of balls are getting hit hard.”
Waldron was proud of his team bouncing back after being held hitless on Monday.
“Yesterday, we had a lot of little mental mistakes that we made,” Waldron said. “Our pitchers were doing OK, but they weren’t really hitting the spots where they thought they were going to be at. Trinity pitched a really good game yesterday and our offense really didn’t get going.”
Trinity is looking like a strong contender in the Heritage League. The Knights remain undefeated in league action and will head to Valley Torah on Monday for a Heritage League double-header. The first game is slated for 3 p.m.
SCCS will also get some time off before returning to league play on Tuesday, when the team heads to Vasquez at 3:15 p.m.