SPRINGFIELD – Triad defeated Lehman Catholic in a rematch from earlier this season, with the Cardinals completing the season sweep with an 11-0 victory in the Division IV regional finals on Friday. The game ended after five innings via the run rule.
Trent McIntyre was solid on the mound again for the state-bound Cardinals, going the distance and shutting out the Cavaliers.
“I felt pretty good. I knew I was going to have the ball since the last out of (Thursday). I’ve been mentally preparing myself all day today and staying calm,” McIntyre said. “(Catcher) Trevor (Instine) did a great job and helped me out in a lot of situations and the defense played great.”
And just like last week’s rout in the district final against Newton, he got plenty of run support.
It started early, with the Cards scratching two runs across in the top of the first inning. Dalton Holycross scored the initial run, barreling through a stop sign from Coach Will Nichols at third and careening toward home plate like a freight train.
“I just had a feeling. I was like ‘I can make this,’” Holycross said. “When you come out and play like (we did), that’s one of the best feelings around.”
It was more of the same throughout for Triad, putting major pressure on the Lehman defense and finally breaking the game open in the fifth with 6 runs. For Nichols, that sort of performance starts with fundamentals.
“We went on a three-game skid (earlier in the season) when we just didn’t play well. Since then, we went back to basics and we haven’t lost since that game,” Nichols said. “In five tournament games, we’ve given up one run. So you credit that to our pitching and our defense – everyone’s playing their butts off.”
That hustle was evident, with every Triad player running the bases with abandon and forcing Lehman to make a few bad throws that resulted in extra bases.
For the Cardinals, Holycross was 2 for 3 with a double, Alec Ober was 2 for 3 with a triple and 3 RBI, Briley Harlan was 2 for 3, Timmy Marsalis was 2 for 3 with a double, Trevor Instine doubled and Shane Ford was 2 for 3 with 3 RBI.
So with great pitching, timely hitting and hustle on the bases and in the field, what is there not to like about these Cardinals?
“Everything has been sound. I can’t say enough for the kids. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for us. I’m happy for the fans, the community, the school,” Nichols said, adding that Triad hasn’t been to state in 12 years. “We’re playing our best baseball right now. This is great. There’s no words. It’s going to be a great experience.”
Triad will begin state tournament play at Huntington Park in Columbus on Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m. against Cuyahoga Heights.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.