The Blessed Trinity baseball team was off to a hot start in the 2020 season, going 12-4 during the short duration of the playable games before the decision was made earlier today by GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines to cancel all remaining GHSA activities and sports for the 2019-2020 school year due to the growing concerns of the Coronavirus.
With three state titles in the school’s trophy cases (2006, 2014 and 2015), the Titans appeared as if they were headed for a chance at a fourth following their 2019 season that saw the team make it to the Class AAAA semifinals where the Titans lost a three-game series to future champs Denmark. Even with the departure of a heavy senior class which included Gatorade Georgia Baseball Player of the Year C.J. Abrams, the shortstop going sixth overall (San Diego) in the major league draft, this year’s team flashed bright enough to give head coach Andy Harlin high hopes.
“Coming off last year, that senior class was a big senior class,” said Harlin. “A bunch of division one football players in there also. Those guys had been playing with us for years. There were a lot of new faces coming into this year. The thing that jumps out is that those guys really we’re together. I don’t want to be cliché, but they were the Webster’s definition of the word ‘together’. They celebrated each other’s successes. Just a very tight group. You start every year from scratch, and you have to build trust as you go. This team was just very tight and that’s what I’ll remember. We only have four seniors on this team. Four great kids.”
With just four seniors on the team, Harlin placed a lot of faith and responsibility in his younger players. Fourteen juniors are currently on the roster, giving Blessed Trinity plenty of hope towards a 2021 season that will carry on the same tenacity as the tight-knit group of this season. Even with a promising future ahead for the Titans, Harlin will still carry the 2020 season with him.
“We we’re only together for a short time. But I can promise you, us like many teams out there will never forget the 2020 teams.”
One thing Harlin won’t forget is his deep bullpen composed of several stellar pitchers. Throughout the season, the Titans 12 wins consisted of five games where the opposition only scored one run, along with four shutouts.
“In baseball, everything starts with pitching. It’s either going to give you a chance or it’s not. Our pitching was really deep and we felt good about it coming into the year. Our pitching coach does a really good job on our arms and those kids worked their rear ends off to get ready for the season. We felt really good about the depth there.”
One of these key pitchers was Dominick Marcoccio, one of the teams four seniors. Acting as a duel-athlete, Marcoccio also played lineman for the Blessed Trinity football team. His efforts on the field proved enough to earn him multiple offers to continue playing football in college, but ultimately decided that baseball was the path for him as he committed to continue playing baseball at Wofford.
“Dom has such a great story,” Harlin said of his player. “A division one football prospect as a lineman and then boom, now we have MLB scouts calling about him. He had offers to play division one football and now he ends up going to a division one baseball school. He leads through his actions and prepares very well.”
Harlin also had high praise for another senior, Bret Buursema. While the infielder/outfielder doesn’t offer anything on the mound, his all-around talents and determination are enough to ignite a fire under the entire team.
“Buursema is our sparkplug,” said Harlin. “He’s just the heart and lungs I think of what this team was. He could do so many things for you. He’s one of the first ones there carrying equipment, that’s just who he is. He’s loyal to that BT logo. He’s been like that all four years. Trey Baker is another one who’s been a big contributor for us as an outfielder and a pitcher. One of the best kids on the face of the Earth. Aiden McSherry just came with us his senior year. All those guys are going to play college baseball. I couldn’t be happier, and those schools are getting great kids.”
With the cancellation of the 2020 season, one can only wonder just how far this Titans team could have gone. While Harlin won’t spend his time dwelling on what could have been, he knows that his team along with many others we’re ready for a season filled with strong competition aimed towards claiming that spot at the top.
“All I can say is there’s a lot of great teams out there in AAAA,’’ he said. “I liked our pitching staff and I liked our preparation. Everybody’s going to be having the same conversation. What if? It’s hard to take your brain down that road. It’s kind of a bummer. But we’re going to enjoy the time that we had together. We have those memories forever and we’re going to use that as fuel for our preparation next year.”
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