Tanner Trout house robbery sends Prestonwood Christian to state title


Fort Worth Nolan 0, Prestonwood Christian 1

ARLINGTON — Pinch runner Tanner Trout came home on wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth with one out to give Prestonwood Christian Academy a thrilling 1-0 extra-inning victory in the state tournament semifinal TAPPS Division I Friday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark on the University of Texas-Arlington campus.

Prestonwood’s Trent Shaw opened the home half of the eighth with a misplayed single to right field and moved to second when the ball strayed out of the infield on the throw. Trout was inserted to pinch the run for Shaw. Will Johnson made a perfect sacrifice, moving Trout to third overall.

Louis Bussard then squared the bunt, with Trout digging for home plate on an apparent squeezing play. Instead, the field widened and moved away from receiver Nolan, allowing Trout to return home safely, and the Lions celebrated a knockout win to advance to Saturday’s championship.

That moment might not have happened if not for a showpiece defensive play by PCA center fielder Tarris Murray in the top half of the extra frame. Nolan’s Robert Nagid – a Vernon College signee – singled and Santiago Perez doubled to open the top of the eighth, putting the runners up to second and third with no outs. When Nate Hall sent a fly ball to center, and after Murray caught up, he uncorked a perfect volley hit for catcher AJ DePaolo to pin Nagid at home plate. Louis Bussard then retired the next batter to set the stage for a fantastic finish.

“I was really focused on what I needed to do before the catch,” Murray said. “I was ready. I just fired it. I didn’t want to disappoint my team.”

“I did it,” added a jubilant Murray.

“Sensational. Impressive. Incredible. And more,” PCA head coach James Vilade said in describing Murray’s take.

“I can’t say enough about the work that Trent Shaw has done,” Vilade noted. “He threw out of traffic, into tough situations, and his striking was a big contribution as well.

“It was a low-scoring pitcher duel, and we liked it that way. Both teams had great pitches and both teams managed to get out of traffic jams.

Shaw started the game on the mound for the Lions and went six and two-thirds innings without a hit when he was called out due to the pitch limit. Shaw moved to first base, with Bussard coming from the outfield to throw. Shaw finished with nine strikeouts, while giving up eight walks. “Just a great feeling,” said Shaw, an Oklahoma State signatory. “We hung on there. And the offense is over.”

Nolan’s Rudy Fernandez hit a 3-2 single in the top of the seventh against Bussard to break the no-hitter. Nolan’s loss eclipsed a strong pitching performance by Nate Hall, who pitched seven-and-a-third innings, driving in just four hits and striking out six.

Making its sixth appearance in a state tournament — the first since 2016 when it won its lone championship — the PCA drew a pair of playoff byes, then knocked out Bishop Lynch 6-0 in the regional.

A midday Saturday start awaits Prestonwood Christian – No. 10 in the THSB ranking of large private schools – in search of his second championship.

Fort Worth Nolan (16-18), unranked in the THSB poll, was seeking his initial state title while making his fifth state tournament appearance. He had beaten Plano John Paul II 7-5 in the regional round, then shut out Episcopal Parish 6-0 in the regional.

Fort Worth Lake Country 3, League City Bay Area 5

ARLINGTON — Playing in its first state title game, Fort Worth Lake Country lost 5-3 to defending League City Bay Area state champion Christian in the TAPPS Division III Finals.

With 2017 being its only other appearance in the state final four, Lake Country didn’t get a hit until the bottom of the sixth. After TJ Mynyk was hit by a pitch, Landon Fuller scored a single, then Adam Lindsey hit a two-RBI triple to right center, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

Bay Area Christian scored a pair of runs with two outs on a dodgy call in the top of the seventh. With bases loaded and no outs, Lake Country’s Luke Compton came in relief from Max Nilsson who moved to left field and earned a forced out at home plate, followed by a lineout at shortstop.

Next, Bay Area’s Michael Tweed hit a shallow fly ball into left field that appeared to have been caught by Nilsson. But there was some confusion on the field, two runners scored and the umpired rule was not caught.

“I thought Max was successful,” Lake Country coach Dominic Denney said. “He came to show the ball. But the referee ruled otherwise.

“But if we had executed better offensively earlier in the game, it might not have mattered.”

Trailing 5-2 going into their last bat, the Eagles charged the bases and, after one strikeout, Mynyk’s strikeout brought home Nilsson, who had singled. However, a forced withdrawal at second ended the rally.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” Denney said. “We fought hard. We have not given up. It was the first time that we took part in a championship match. No one expected us to be here except us.

Lake Country (18-15) was unranked, while Bay Area (28-13) was TAPPS’ highest-ranked team among small private schools in the latest THSB poll.

Bay Area Christian shortstop Jordan Medellin, a Baylor signee and TAPPS 4A Male Athlete of the Year a year ago, had a two-RBI single at the top of the third, and came on to throw relieving starter Adam Atwell, who had a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings. Medellin got the stoppage in 1 2/3 innings.

Lake Country will now look to a season next year, graduating only two seniors.

“It was a great experience for us,” Denney said. “We are looking forward to next season.”

***

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