Trinity takes two of three in tourney triple tilt

The Pioneers were in postseason action on three different playing surfaces Thursday

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MANCHESTER, NH – Playing host to three playoff matchups at the same time, Trinity High School’s boys tennis, boys lacrosse and baseball teams treated students, parents and fans to plenty of excitement at Derryfield Park Thursday afternoon.

And much to the delight of those spectators and the athletes on the field, the Pioneers earned earned pivotal wins on the tennis court and lacrosse pitch, while the baseball team battled until the last pitch in their dual on the diamond.

Boys tennis

Quinn Booth won his singles match Thurday.

Trinity High School head boys tennis coach Chip Polak admitted he had tempered expectations coming into this season. After all, his team, two-years removed from competitive action due to the global pandemic, entered this season with a team made up of 8 sophomores and 4 freshmen, most of them having no prior tennis experience.

You read that right. The Pioneers varsity tennis team has neither a senior nor a junior on the court this year.

Yet that didn’t stop them from reaching the Division-III state finals following a 7-2 win over visiting Gilford Thursday afternoon.

“Going into the season I had no idea what to expect,” said Polak. “No one had ever played a high school tennis match. There was talent. Combine that with good luck and a few close matches become wins. The result is Trinity’s first ever appearance in a NHIAA team boys tennis final.”

In addition to standout efforts by many of his players, Polak also credited the tutelage of assistant coach Jeff Freedman for helping boost Trinity to the tournament championship clash.

Thursday it was Trinty’s top player, Beau Freedman who set the tone with an 8-5 victory over Gilford’s Bradley McIntire. Quinn Booth and Connor Herman followed suit on the second and third courts with 8-1 and 8-3 wins, respectively.

Trinity No. 4 Leo Skiathitis was edged, 8-6, by Alden Townsend, but No. 5 Nick Bourne slipped by Matteu Giovanditto, 9-7, and No. 6 Colin Tran edged Aydyn Berube to secure the team triumph.

For good measure, Freedman and Herman earned an 8-2 win on the top doubles court. Booth and Skiathitis suffered an 8-5 setback on the second court, but Bourne and Tran cruised, 8-1, in No. 3 doubles.

The Pioneers now advance to play Kearsarge in the D-III title tilt this Saturday at 4 p.m. at Alvirne High School in Hudson.

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Boys lacrosse

Ethan Flanagan
Sophomore attacker Ethan Flanagan, right, celebrated his would-be game winner with classmate Tate Flint.

“I might need a defibrillator.”

Those were the first words out of Trinity head boys lacrosse coach Mike Martinez’s mouth following his team’s 8-7 playoff win over Campbell High School Thursday.

After a back-and-forth matchup for three quarters of play, Martinez’s squad took possession down 5-4 in the beginning of the fourth frame and didn’t let up for the first six minutes, only loosening their grip after they had put in three goals to take a 7-5 lead into the final six minutes of play.

But following a Campbell timeout, the tide shifted a bit with the two teams trading goals and then the Cougars drew to within one with 2:32 remaining on the clock.

With the game on the line and Martinez’s heart rate reaching uncharted territory, the Pioneers held on to secure the win in what both coaches acknowledged was a championship atmosphere despite the contest taking place in the opening round of the Division-III tournament due to the NHIAA’s random draw this year.

“I’ve gotten to play in one before, and yeah, that’s what a championship game feels like,” said Martinez. “With the fans, people yelling and screaming, the intensity from both teams, it had that feel.”

Trinity’s scoring was well distributed with Tate Flint and Ethan Flanagan each finding the back of the net twice, including what ended up being the game winner by Flanagan late in the fourth quarter.

Brady Watts, Dillon Brown, Austin Pepin and Brennan Walsh also scored for the Pioneers, while sophomore goalie Nick Guerra turned away many quality shots in net to keep the game tight throughout.

“We came out ready to go, played a great game and were missing the cage at the beginning and there’s only so much you can do,” said Campbell coach Josh Knight. “We had to have at least 30 shots, I mean, we had the possession (in the first three quarters) but they slowed it down big time (in the forth quarter) and it came back to bite us.”

The win secured Trinity a quarterfinal appearance against Pelham this Saturday. The contest is currently scheduled for 5 p.m. at Trinity Field at Derryfield Park.

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Baseball

Down eight runs entering the final inning of play against a 12-4 Concord squad, the 4-9 Trinity baseball team exhibited the never-quit attitude it exhibited all season, plating two runs and loading the bases before falling, 14-8, in the preliminary round of the Division I tournament Thursday.

“We showed no quit all season long,” said Trinity head coach Jake Filip. “I told them at the end, ‘you’re all fighters, and you didn’t just cave in to a 10-run (deficit).’ I think we only went down 1,2, 3 one time the whole game. Other than that, we had guys on base every inning.”

The Pioneers now bid farewell to graduating seniors Joe Songen, Sam Carpenter, Finnian Smith, Louis Rosenthall and Ryan Stultz, all of whom left a lasting mark on the program, said Filip.

“Our older guys really did carry the weight and really showed the younger guys (how to win) all season,” said Filip. “That shows a lot for our future, but it says a lot about our (seniors), leading the way with a younger team like that behind them.”

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About this Author

nathan-graziano

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Fly Like The Seagull was published by Luchador Press in 2020. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com