GLOUSTER — Trimble coach Phil Faires has been around the baseball diamond for a while in Glouster.
“There’s a lot of memories,” he said. “So many of these kids, I coached their dads.”
Faires got one more coaching win at Glouster Memorial Park, leading No. 10 Trimble to a 14-2 win over No. 23 Miller on Saturday in a Division IV sectional semifinal game.
Faires, Trimble’s baseball coach for the last 30 seasons, will retire from the diamond at season’s end.
His final game wasn’t on Saturday however, as Cole Wright gave Trimble four solid innings of work combined with the offense pounding out 13 hits.
The win moves the Tomcats to 12-11 on the season, as they’ve won seven out of nine games down the stretch.
“We’ve been getting better pitching, and we’re not walking as many,” Faires said. “That’s been the key.”
The Tomcats have relied on Wright, Blake Guffey and Bryce Downs for the majority of their starting pitching this season.
Faires opted to open the tournament with Wright, Trimble’s big sophomore hurler.
Wright struck out seven, allowing three hits in those four innings. He only walked a batter, as Faires said control is Wright’s strength.
“Cole’s been our one guy that can throw strikes consistently,” Faires said. “The games we have lost, a lot of them have been because we walked so many. I figured with Cole on the mound, he’s not going to walk a lot.”
The Tomcats will travel to No. 7 South Webster on Tuesday with Guffey and Downs, both seniors, both ready for as many innings as needed.
“They throw a little harder and probably are a little better pitchers, but they lose it now and then,” Faires said. “They get extra men on base. Cole doesn’t do that, if teams score they usually earn it.”
The Tomcats were 15-1 winners over Miller on May 3, and they put another another big offensive day on Saturday.
Trimble scored in every inning, leading 10-0 after a seven-run bottom half of the second inning.
A total of eight different Trimble players had at least one hit.
The Tomcats also stole bases at will, finishing with 24 overall in the game. Walks or singles usually turned into a runner at second base.
“The further you get in the tournament, those things won’t happen so we’ll have to hit the ball better,” Faires said. “We’ve had our moments. We’ve hit well then we’ll go through base running lapses, but for the most part we’ve been getting better and better as the year has gone on.”
Trimble scored three runs in the first, with Tabor Lackey and Guffey producing RBI singles. Guffey later scored on a wild pitch for a 3-0 lead.
The Tomcats opened the lead up against Miller pitcher Braden Crawford in the second inning, sending 11 hitters to the plate.
Trimble scored seven runs on five hits and three errors to lead 10-0.
Downs hit a single to left to make it 5-0, and it was 7-0 after Lackey’s two-run hit to right.
Guffey hit a run-scoring double for an eight-run lead. Seven consecutive batters reached base at one point during the inning, the 10th run coming on Wright’s RBI grounder to second baseman Tucker Morgan.
The Tomcats were ahead 11-0 after three innings thanks to Lackey’s RBI single. Three more runs crossed home plate in the fourth, Matthew Moyer and Austin Wisor hitting RBI singles.
Wisor finished 4 for 4 with four singles, two RBIs and three runs. Lackey was 3 for 3 with four RBIs and two runs.
Miller got two runs in the top of the fifth off Tomcat relief pitcher Chayse Henry. With two outs, Crawford drew a walk, and Gaige Canter reached on an error. Crawford scored on a while pitch and Canter scored when Tre McCoy dropped a single into right field.
The Tomcats ended the game on defense. Max Frank picked up the ball in right field, threw to Guffey at second, who fired to Wisor at shortstop to throw out McCoy trying to stretch a single into a double.
The defensive play clinched the 417th coaching win for Faires, who started in 1993.
Faires coached at first base on Saturday, letting assistant Chaz Mohler take over third-base coaching duties.
Faires said he’s ready to let his younger assistants, including Austin Downs, take over the program.
“They’ve got a lot more energy and can get the kids more enthused,” Faires said. “Chaz has kids in the youth program. I can already see the exciement they’ve got down there. It’s in good hands.
“I’m ready to go do something on spring break.”
Faires and the Tomcats will try to put off the official retirement party a little longer however, as a sectional final at South Webster on Tuesday at 5 p.m. awaits.
The No. 7 Jeeps compete in the tough Southern Ohio Conference and face teams like Wheelersburg, Valley and Minford. The winner advances to the district tournament.
“Every team they play every night is a tournament team,” Faires said. “They’ll be ready for us. I heard they have a pretty good lefty, a pretty good catcher. Stops those walks and errors that turn into doubles and triples. We’ll have to put some hits together.
“If we beat them, that’s as good as anyone we’ll face through districts. It’s fun to play teams
Trimble 14, Miller 2 (5 innings)
Miller;000 02 — 2 4 6
Trimble;371 3x — 14 13 3
Braden Crawford and Gaige Canter
Cole Wright, Chayse Henry (5) and Tabor Lackey
WP — Wright; LP — Crawford