For the second time in Coach Ian Heisel's ten-year run as head coach of the Walsingham baseball program, the Trojans played host to a TCIS tournament quarterfinal game on Tuesday afternoon. The Trojans earned the #4 seed by finishing 5-3 in TCIS play and faced off against #5 Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. When the two teams met in the conference opener back at the end of March, the Saints of NSA emerged victorious after a late-inning rally.
In Tuesday's quarterfinal matchup, the Trojans sent Tanner Schobel '20 to the mound. The Trojans retired the side quickly in the first thanks to a caught stealing where catcher Lincoln Lubsen '21 threw out a Saints' runner to end the inning. It didn't take long for the Trojans to take the lead as the second hitter of the first inning, Zach Stanko '19, launched a home run over the center field fence to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead. After Lincoln Lubsen and Cody Christman '22 reached base, Christian Carter '19 lined a double off the top of the fence to bring home another run. An RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Jacob Miller-Bopp '22 gave the Trojans a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
The Trojans added to their lead in the third inning as Nate Wildasin '19 drove a solo shot over the fence for his third home run of the season. The Trojans rallied again in the bottom of the fourth, this time scoring three more runs on two-out hits by Zach Stanko and Lincoln Lubsen to put the lead at 7-0.
The Saints finally were able to get on the board in the top of the fifth as a walk and a base hit put two runners on before a line drive home run cut the Trojans' lead to 7-3. The Saints were able to keep the rally alive but a timely pickoff play executed by Tanner Schobel and Christian Carter ended the inning and kept the score at 7-3.
The Trojans sent Paul Williams '22 to the mound for the sixth inning in relief of Tanner Schobel. After giving up a leadoff home run, Williams held the Saints right there and the score was 7-4 headed to the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the frame, the Trojans saw the first five batters reach base as RBI singles by Tanner Schobel and Zach Stanko brought home Nate Wildasin, Trey Christman '23, and Donnie Evans '21. Cody Christman capped off the inning with another RBI single and the Trojans lead had once again grown to seven runs entering the final frame.
Trying to avoid another late comeback by the Saints, the Trojans sent Lincoln Lubsen to the hill to collect the final three outs. Using just 11 total pitches, Lubsen retired the Saints in order to secure the 11-4 victory. Tanner Schobel earned the win on the mound to improve to 4-0 after holding the Saints at bay for five solid innings. The Trojans collected 11 hits in total, including three from Zach Stanko and two from Cody Christman.
The Trojans now advance to the TCIS semifinals for the first time since reaching the TCIS championship game in 2016. The #4 Trojans will hit the road and play at #1 Greenbrier Christian this afternoon (May 8) at 6 p.m. On the other side of the bracket, #3 Steward will head to Virginia Beach for a semifinal matchup with #2 Cape Henry. The winners of Wednesday's semifinals will meet on Friday, May 10, at William & Mary's Plumeri Park as they compete for the 2019 TCIS Championship.
The Trojans also remained in the #1 spot in the most recent VISAA Division III poll. The VISAA committee will have one final vote this weekend before releasing the seeding for next week's state tournaments. The Trojans will host their Senior Day game in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday, 5/14. The semifinals and finals of the VISAA tournament will be played at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights, Va. on Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18.