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The TAPPS Division 1 State Baseball Championship Game was a dogfight from beginning to end, but Trinity Christian-Addison prevailed in the end when William Lehman hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 7th inning to give them a 7-6 victory. Lehman was injured early in the game, but fought through the injury going 3-3 with the game winning RBI. It was Trinity Christian’s first baseball title since 2006.
Scoreless through the first two innings, Trinity Christian-Addison picked up the first run of the game in the bottom of the 3rd. 2B Steven Ramos singled, stole second and scored on RF Joshua Liu’s base hit giving TCA the early 1-0 lead.
St. Thomas responded with a big inning in the top of the 4th. CF Luke Edgecomb laid down a beautiful bunt for a base hit to open the inning. He then went all the way to 3B on an errant pickoff attempt. With one out, RF Logan Duplantis singled home Edgecomb. LF Jaden DeShautelle then stroked a double in the right center field gap moving Duplantis to 3rd. 3B Billy Theroux then came up and got his 4th hit of the tournament, a single to left field, that scored both Duplantis and DeShautelle, giving St. Thomas Catholic their first lead of the game 3-1.
TCA picked up another run in their half of the fourth. CF Samuel Jenkins led off the inning with a single, moved to second on 1B William Lehman’s single and then scored on the SS Abe Woods’ RBI single. That cut the St. Thomas lead to 3-2.
St. Thomas however replicated their previous inning with another 3 runs. 2B Brayden Salinas had an RBI single, Edgecomb scored off an errant pickoff throw and Salinas scored on a Duplantis Sac Fly. St. Thomas increased their lead to 6-2.
But TCA would not quit. RBI singles by Liu and Jenkins and a 2 RBI single from 1B William Lehman and the Trojans tied the ballgame at 6-6 in the bottom of the 5th.
Pitchers from both teams bared down and runs were hard to come by after the 5th. In the top of the 7th, St. Thomas’ Donte Lewis walked, stole second and went to third on a Edgecomb sacrifice. With one out Salinas hit a hard shot right at 2B Ramos for the 2nd out. Relief pitcher Liu got a strikeout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th for TCA, Liu started things by getting on base by an error. Wild pitches got him to 2nd and to 3rd. St. Thomas gave intentional passes to Jenkins and Gologuri. With no outs, that brought up Lehman who was 3-3 for the day. Hobbling to the plate from an injury rounding 2nd Base in the 2nd inning, Lehman hit the first pitch on a line drive to left field, which was caught but deep enough to score Liu from 3B, giving the TCA Trojans the victory and the Division 1 State Championship.
Lehman finished the game 3-3 with a Sac Fly and 3 RBIs, including the game winner. He was named the THSB Championship Player of the Game
“I’m so excited right now,” Lehman explained. “I don’t think the feeling has sunk in yet but this is what we dreamed of. I don’t think this game could have been scripted any better.” On the winning RBI hit: “I was just thinking ‘I know this guy can’t beat me, I’m just going to be myself.’ I knew he was going to throw that curve ball and I just caught that curve ball up and I started smiling because I knew what was about to happen.”
Coach Pat Leach commented: “This is a special group of guys. Our six seniors. There was no doubt in their mind that they could come over here and do this. These guys have learned to put any frustrations behind them and go on to the next pitch. They play for each other, focusing on the fundamentals of the game and creating good habits. It’s hard not to tear up over these guys and their success.” On Lehman’s performance in the game: “That guy is a warrior. He is one of the most consistent kids out there. There was no way he was going to come out of the game even though he was injured. That is William Lehman. And I felt very confident when he came up at the end of the game.”
THSB Player of the Game – William Lehman