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HENNEPIN — Coming into Thursday’s Class 1A Putnam County Sectional semifinal with Putnam County, the Holy Trinity baseball team knew its young and inexperienced squad was going to need its best effort of the season to leave Hennepin with a victory.
More times than not, experience pays off and it was the case Thursday as Putnam County took advantage of the Chargers’ mistakes as PC used a 10-run third inning to roll past Holy Trinity for an 11-0 five-inning victory.
The win advances the Panthers into Saturday’s 1 p.m. sectional championship, where PC will face Grant Park, which beat Christian Liberty 5-3 in Thursday’s first semifinal.
In Thursday’s second semifinal, Holy Trinity started five freshmen and four sophomores, while the Panthers have 10 seniors and five juniors on the roster.
The discrepancy in experience showed as the Chargers committed six errors in the game.
The first of the errors came in the third inning and allowed left fielder Evan Kreiser to reach first base on a throwing error. Shortstop Harold Fay singled and starting pitcher Cody Ballerini helped himself with an RBI single.
Fay made it 2-0 when he scored on a balk.
Moments later, second baseman Xavier Warren reached on a second Holy Trinity error.
Following back-to-back outs, catcher Christian Carboni, third baseman Justin Pettit and first baseman Jake Kasperski all had RBI singles.
The shot that was the nail in the coffin came from Ballerini, who hit a bases-clearing three-run double.
“We continue to talk about being aggressive,” PC coach Dave Garcia said. “In the postseason, you want to be ahead on the scoreboard because when teams are trailing they can start to lose focus and press the issue a bit. We have been aggressive all season long, so why stop now?”
When the third inning was over, the Panthers collected seven hits and scored 10 runs.
After taking the 10-0 cushion, Fay’s RBI single in the top of the fifth gave the Panthers the 11-0 lead.
While PC excelled at the plate, Ballerini was solid on the mound as he threw a complete-game four-hit shutout to earn the win.
Fay and Ballerini both had two hits while Ballerini drove in four. Kreiser, Pettit, Ballerini and Fay all scored twice.