Wednesday, May 14, 2014 Page 3The Chronicle-News Trinidad, Colorado
FromtheDugoutTriggers Baseball
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  1. 1. Wednesday, May 14, 2014 Page 3The Chronicle-News Trinidad, Colorado SportSPLAY BALL! FromtheDugoutTriggers Baseball By JD Droddy Manager of the Triggers Special to The Chronicle-News Spring Training is over and the Trig- gers’ first game is tonight in Raton against the Osos. We will play the Osos tomorrow night (Thursday) in our Home Opener at Central Park. We hope to have a big turn- out, so we can demonstrate to the players and to the Pecos League that we have great support in Trinidad. Our Spring Training was a bit abbrevi- atedduetobadweather.Wehadintendedto have intra-squad games Sunday and Mon- day. Mother Nature, however, had differ- ent plans and put a chill on our intentions. But it may have been a blessing in disguise, because we were a little banged up, and the extra rest should do us some good. Among the injured is our projected ace pitcher, Nick Rodesky. Nick reported to camp suffering from tendonitis in his el- bow and has not yet thrown a pitch. He will miss at least one rotation. Hopefully, he will be ready soon. Lefty reliever Dan Zlotnick also hasn’t been able to pitch yet. He has a strained oblique muscle but is expected to be back soon. Rookie corner infielder Ja- mie McMillan has a mildly strained ham- string, but he will see limited action as long as it doesn’t get worse. This year’s Triggers team is loaded with power hitters, especially from the left side of the plate. Pitcher Adam Barry won the triple crown in hitting during the Pecos Spring League and is expected to see lots of action on the field when he isn’t pitching. McMillan, veteran corner infielder Will Leonard, outfielder/infielder Mike Morris, infielder Jeff Lucero, catcher Nick Bunce, pitcher Ben Baker, outfielder Johnny Bl- adel and outfielder Jake Summers all have tremendous power. Summers is also serv- ing as the Triggers’ hitting coach, Our defense should be very good. Among the defenders is rookie third base- man Blake May, who won two consecutive national Gold Glove Awards for NCAA Di- vision II. The pitching situation is still in a bit of flux. Because of the abbreviated Spring Training, we are still sorting a few things out. The first two starters have been an- nounced. Hard-throwing lefty Kevin Mc- Govern will start tonight in Raton. Righty Daniel Sharp will start the Home Opener tomorrow night. Two of our best relievers from last year are back. Long reliever Mike Mullen and closer Zach Leitten are ready for duty. We have several other pitchers who are expected to make big contributions this year. Overall, the picture is bright. The league office has informed me that the Triggers are the overwhelming favorite to win the Northern Division. That is all well and good, but we must go out on the field, play hard and smart, and make it happen. That process starts tonight. We hope to see many of our fans at the ballpark. Trojan baseball team wins Region IX title By Mike Salbato Special to The Chronicle-News The Trinidad State baseball team fought its way to the top of Region IX this past weekend with tournament victories over Northeastern, Lamar and Otero. The Trojans entered the tourna- ment seeded third in the region. They rolled through the first two games, however, before defeating Otero in extra innings to claim the crown. The Region IX champs will now prepare for their trip to districts later this week. At the midpoint of the season, things were looking bleak as a mid-seasonslumplefttheteamwitha22-22record.Theteamturned things around, however, taking two games from Otero, splitting with Lamar and sweeping McCook. The Trojans finished the regu- lar season with a six-game winning streak and a 31-24 record. They then had to wait almost two weeks to start the playoffs. “We finished the season playing pretty well,” said second-year coach Matthew Torrez. “I was asked a couple of times if the 10-day layoff would affect us. Some people may look at that as a negative, but I took it the opposite way. I felt that it would give us time to get healthy and be at full strength for the playoffs.” At the regional tournament the Trojans did what they do best — get the ball in play and hustle to make teams make mistakes. In the first game against NJC, the Trojans stole seven bases, keeping the Plainsmen off balance. TSJC won the back-and-forth affair, 6-4. Alex Rogers pitched seven beautiful innings, striking out five to pick up the win, and Julian Moroyoqui tossed two perfect innings to earn the save. TSJC leadoff man Julien Belanger finished with three hits and a stolen base. Game two only lasted seven innings as the Trojans rolled past regular-season champion Lamar, 8-0. Eric Bussey was dominant on the hill, giving up only four hits while striking out five in the complete-game shutout. Colby Schrade scored two runs, including a solo home run, to pace the Trojan offense. The title game went to extra innings, but the Trojans finally put away the fourth-seeded Rattlers, 9-6. Moroyoqui picked up the win in relief. Drake Duncan, Wesley Aguilar and Christian Benitez all hit bombs for Trinidad. “Our kids went out and played aggressively,” noted Torrez. “We were able to get extra bases and put pressure on the defense as an offensive club. On the other side of the ball, we minimized our errors, and the pitchers kept the walks to a minimum. I am very proud of this group, as we had a chance in the middle of the season to fold up tents. They kept pushing, and that adversity sent us on a nice little end of the season run.” Six Trojan players earned post-season honors. Belanger and Dunkin were first-team All-Region selections, and Benitez, Bussey, Max Broullaird and Michael Barrientos each earned second-team honors. Coach Torrez was named Coach of the Year for Region IX. The Trojans (34-24) will now head to the Western District Tour- nament in Arizona. They will play Cochise College (34-26) in the first round at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 15. This tournament is also a double-elimination bracket, with the winner heading to Nation- als in Grand Junction later this month. “We have reached a goal our program has set and would like to keep reaching for more,” said Torrez. “I speak for our whole pro- gram when I say thank you to all the people that support our pro- gram, and we hope that we have made you proud!” Photo courtesy of David Barrack The 2014 Region IX Baseball Champion TSJC Trojans celebrate their achievement. TRINIDAD STATE JUNIOR COLLEGE Photo courtesy of Kendra VanMatre Lady Farmers receive All-Conference honors From left to right, Jordan Trujillo, Aspen Anderson, Bailee Jones and Cydney Kreutzer received All-Conference honors for their play for the Hoehne Farmers basketball team in the Santa Fe League. Cydney and Aspen were also named to the All-State team by the Colorado High School Activities Association, and The Denver Post named Cydney to its All-State Team. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Special to The Chronicle-News DRIVE SMART Las Animas Coun- ty, a traffic safety coalition, wants to re- mind motorists and motorcyclists alike to “share the road” in order to help pre- vent motorcycle crashes, deaths and in- juries on our local roadways. “Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why May is the perfect time for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month,” said Las Animas County Sheriff James Casias, a coalition member. “In 2012, 16 percent of motor vehicle injuries involved mo- torcyclists in Las Animas County. We all need to be more aware of motorcy- clists in order to save lives.” National statistics show an alarm- ing trend: in 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a contin- ued increase from 2010. Those deaths account for 15 percent of the total high- way fatalities that year. Injured motor- cyclists also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012. Nationwide, helmet usage is on the decline, dropping from 66 percent of motorcyclists wearing helmets in 2011 to only 60 percent in 2012. The decrease was most significant among motorcycle passengers, decreasing from 64 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2012. The Nation- al Highway Traffic Safety Administra- tion (NHTSA) estimates that 1,617 lives were saved in 2011 because of proper helmet usage, but another 701 lives could have been saved if helmets had been worn. Wearing a helmet is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe, but we all play a part “It’s up to all motor- ists and motorcyclists to make our roads safer,” said Sheriff Casias. “If all road users shared the responsibility of keeping our roadways safe by following road signs, obeying speed limits and always staying focused on the road… deaths and injuries could be prevent- ed.” He offered tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle: Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times. Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic. If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non- canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding. Check all mirrors and blind spots for mo- torcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections. Always allow more following distance - three to four seconds - when behind a motor- cycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Never drive distracted or impaired. “Motorcyclists must also take precau- tions to remain safe on the road,” added Sheriff Casias. Motorcyclists can increase their safe- ty by following these steps: Riders should take a certified motorcycle safety education/training course. Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear. Obey all traffic laws and be properly li- censed. Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn. Wear brightly colored clothes and reflec- tive tape to increase visibility. Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers. Never ride distracted or impaired. “By following basic safety rules, we can all help to prevent crashes,” conclud- ed Sheriff Casias. “Our message is for all drivers and riders: Share the responsi- bility of keeping our roads safe - always share the road.” For more information on motorcycle safety, visit: www.nhtsa. gov/Safety/Motorcycles.