Monday, April 17th | 6:00 PM | Louisville Slugger Field | Louisville, KY
Saint Xavier Tigers (15-6) vs. Trinity Shamrocks (14-3-3)
Monday, April 17th
Varsity Game – 6:00
Louisville Slugger Field
The Tigers and Shamrocks will face off for the second time this season when they play at Louisville Slugger Field tonight at 6:00 PM. The Shamrocks won the first outing by a score of 13-8 back in March. The slugfest saw both teams combine for 24 hits.
As the No.1 and No.2 teams in the state, both teams have a lot of talent, especially on the pitching end. The Shamrocks have an ace in Brody Heil, who is a University of Louisville commit, while the Tigers have Connor Holden, committed to Murray State. Both pitchers will most likely make starts tonight. Holden did not have his best day last game, but with that in mind, will bring a lot more to the mound tonight.
On the offensive end, this matchup could very well go hit-for-hit once more. The Shamrocks are strong at the top of their order, with their first three batters combining for seven hits in the last game. Meanwhile, Sam Hedges, Cam Scheler, and Chris Esselman will lead the Tigers at the plate and will need to make their presence felt early and often.
Overall, this should be another thrilling matchup for the top two teams in the state. The Shamrocks have won the last three games against the Tigers, St.X’s last win coming in 2014.
The Tiger Baseball team looks to begin the defense of their state title this Friday when they play DeSales High School @ 6:00 on Friday at Saint X. In the upcoming weeks we will look at their individual opponents, but first let’s look at the Tiger Baseball Team and what we can expect from them this year.
The Tigers lost their two aces from last season, Daniel Fisher, who was named to the postseason All-American Team, and Adam Elliot, who was the State Tournament MVP. The two University of Louisville signees almost single-handedly led the Tigers to the State Title. They teamed up to pitch the Tigers to the State Championship Game, giving up 6 runs in 4 games with a team ERA (earned run average) of 1.80. Others who were lost to graduation include Eric Hasselwander, Sam Porta, and Brian O’Neil.
A Key Returner on the Pitching Staff is Connor Holden, who pitched the Tigers to their 2nd state title in 3 years, throwing a 3 hit shutout with 8 strikeouts in the Tigers’ 1-0 victory over Campbell County in the State Championship Game. The Murray State signee will be one of the top pitchers in the state this year. As the No.3 pitcher last year, Holden had a 2.12 ERA and 38 strikeouts on the year. Other returning pitchers include Sam Wilson, Sam Mudd, and Matthew Logsdon with the addition of juniors Henry Sadlo, Ryan Hamilton, Evan Burnett, and Andrew Littlefield. Sam Wilson notably was the designated closer for the Tigers, so look for him to expand that role.
The Tigers lose 3-year starter Dalton Dedas, who was the catcher on the 2014 and 2016 State Championship teams. He was a natural leader on the team, who was a reliable backstop and a threat at the plate.
Sophomore Cam Scheler and Junior Chase Patton are the two catchers on the Varsity Roster this season. Both have experience playing Varsity, as they played a few regular season games last year when Dedas was given a day off. Scheler will be remembered for hitting a walk off last postseason with the bases loaded. Scheler should provide some offensive firepower for the Tigers this year and will be in contention for a lot larger role this year.
Corner Infield (1st and 3rd Base)
The Tigers have lost both of their First Basemen from last season, Daniel Fisher and Nick Nelson, who was also the backup Catcher and could play Third Base, as well. The Infield is where the Tigers have lost the fewest amount of players.
Seniors Chris Esselman and Ryan Davis are 2 corner infielders returning from last year’s state championship team. Also, Senior Chase Collins, who was cut from the team junior year, is on the team and will play some 1st base. Juniors that are looking to vie for time in the corner infield include Bryce Elmore and Ryan Hamilton.
Ryan Davis was playing solid before an injury ended his season last year. In 59 at bats he was hitting .305. Look for Chase Collins to have a big year for the Tigers as well. After being cut his junior year, he has worked extremely hard just to get back on the field. It’s paid off, but he has a lot more to prove. Notably, as a freshman, Chase threw a no-hitter while his twin brother Zac (committed to Purdue as a punter) was behind the plate at catcher.
Arguably one of the most important positions in baseball, the Tigers lost their starting shortstop, Casey Simon, who hit a solo home run in the state title game to give Saint X its single run. Simon is the only middle infielder that has graduated, so expect the Tigers to be solid at these positions.
Seniors Chris Esselman and Zeke Porta are both returning players from last season’s team, as well as the edition of Juniors Trey Sweeney and Ryan Hamilton.
Even last year, Esselman had the prettiest swing on the Tigers roster. He is a pure contact guy, and batted .266 last year. Zeke Porta also looks to make a big leap for the Tigers last year after serving mostly as a pinch hitter last year.
Seniors Adam Eliott and Kurt Ramser were both lost to graduation, but Outfield looks to be a strong-suit for this years team.
Seniors Steven Mitchell, Tanner Brown, Sam Hedges, and Sam Mudd, as well as Junior Andrew Littlefield will make up the outfield for this years team.
Mitchell one of the fastest players on the team, which will do him well on the defensive side on the ball, but just as much on offense. Mitchell batted near the top of the lineup last year and batted .287 with 21 runs scored.
Don’t let Sam Mudd’s size fool you, because he has all the tools. He has a strong arm, capable of making the furthest throws from the outfield, paired with a big swing. Look for Mudd to move out from the middle of the batting lineup this year.
Sam Hedges is the Tigers top overall player. He is an all around athlete with great speed and strength. He plays through the ball very well and is an an accurate thrower from the outfield. The Northern Kentucky commit is a great batter and takes advantage of the gaps in the field.
With 4 returning players, and 1 Junior, look for the Tiger outfielders to have a monster season.
Schedule and Other Notes:
Once again, the Tigers will play a strong out-of-town schedule with teams including Brother Rice (IL), a Spring Break Tournament in Nashville, Cincy St. X, and Elder High School.
In the state, the Tigers will field tough competition against Trinity and Ballard. Both of these teams are in the same region as St.X, and have a lot of talent. Notably, Trinity will have two UofL signees. Ballard’s Jordan Adell is a one man show, also committed to UofL, and looks to be a top prospect in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Overall, the Tigers do have a strong chance to go back to back and win the state title come this June. This feat has not been accomplished since Harrison County did it in the 1997-1998 seasons. However, if last year is an indication of how the Tigers play in the postseason, they know how to get it done when it counts.
Go Tigers! Read the rest of this entry
With the year coming to a close, we take time to reminisce on the past year in sports. 2016 has been filled with countless games, memories, and championships that have added to the legacy of St.X’s athletic excellence. Now, as the crystal ball counts down to midnight, WSTX Sports would like to do a countdown of our own over the next few days. Let’s countdown the Top 10 Moments in Tiger Sports for the year of 2016!
They defeated No. 1 ranked Greenup County, defeated the defending state champions West Jessamine, and defeated No.2 ranked McCracken County. All these incredible wins gave Tiger Baseball the opportunity to win their seventh state championship, but quite fittingly, they faced one more challenge on their already magical postseason run.
In their nine inning state semi-final against McCracken County, St.X’s two aces Daniel Fischer and Adam Elliot (both currently on the roster for UofL) pitched in the game, making them ineligible in the state title game.
Connor Holden would have to step up in the final game.
He found himself in a hole early. The bases were loaded with only a single out in the first inning. However, Campbell County’s next hitter hit a chopper up the middle that Holden snagged to start a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
Two innings later, Casey Simon, the other hero of the day, would hit his first home run of the season, providing the lone run in the game.
Now with a lead, Holden and the Tigers were able to settle into the game. He would go on to pitch a three hit shutout, picking up eight strikeouts along the way, including the final out which cued a well-deserved dog pile.
No one thought he would be the one dishing the final out, but who thought the Tigers would make it their in the first place? It’s only fitting that Holden was able to put the cherry on top of Tiger Baseball’s amazing run.