By Olivia Granaiola
Twitter – @oliviagranaiola
Tiny Trenton High School is making a big splash within North Central Florida’s softball circuit.
The Tigers, who finished the regular season with a record of 21-3, had a perfect district record of 10-0 and earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A-District 7 tournament which starts today at Bell (schedule below).
Coach Todd Bryant is proud of this feat despite the team’s youth.
“We only have one senior,” Bryant said. “But our youth is very experienced. Most of them do play travel ball.”
One of the highlights of the 2018 season was ruining top-ranked Gainesville High School’s perfect record in the middle of March. A bout of March Madness, if you will. The feat meant a lot to the team, but Coach Bryant knew his Tigers had it in them.
“Our kids are all good athletes,” Bryant said. “Our team is extremely fast and we have five or six kids that will play college softball at the Division 1 level, and more that can play at other levels if they so choose.”
And to add icing on the cake, the girls did it again less than a week ago against rival Chiefland, shutting out the Indians 10-0 in a mercy-rule game.
Knocking one of the best teams in the district twice in a season is nothing to sneeze at. But then again, neither is the amount of work that the team pours into ensuring their success.
A typical day for the Trenton softball team is rigorous. The practices last 2.5 hours, with each individual practice refining new things about the team.
“We spend time in the cage each day working on fundamentals and try to hit on the field each day – all in smaller groups so that everyone is getting plenty of cuts,” said Bryant.
He adds that the girls get close to 100 ground balls and 100 swings per practice. That kind of work ethic is integral to the success of a small team in a small town.
Besides the raw material evident on the team, Bryant credits the fact that Trenton is a Middle/High School, which allows the girls to participate in varsity softball before they enter the ninth grade.
“All the freshmen we have are at least in their second year as a starter.”
The Trenton standard is something all of the players walk into cautiously.
Coach Bryant says the team has never missed a practice Monday through Friday. Juggling school and essentially a full-time softball schedule gives the team a built-in advantage over their opponents because of the work ethic instilled in them.
“Even on rain out days we go into our indoor cage and hit for one to two hours. We try to get better at something each day,” Bryant said.
The Trenton Tigers’ softball team ended their regular season on April 20th with a 2-1 win over Class 5A #10 Keystone Heights. That win was the team’s fourth straight heading into the playoffs.
Last week, they also swept the 2-game series against Gainesville High School, which is currently ranked seventh in the state in Class 7A.
Those are the types of game that will help Trenton as it seeks its first fastpitch softball state title.
Football has won a couple of titles. There are even a few slow pitch trophies. Trenton is looking to add to the hardware case.
The quest for that first state title in fastpitch softball begins on Wednesday in the district semifinals, a must-win game, against the winner of tonight’s game between Branford and Dixie County (Cross City).
Class 1A-District 7 tournament at Bell
Tuesday – Branford vs. Dixie County (Cross City), 5 p.m.; Chiefland vs. Bronson, 7 p.m.
Thursday – Branford/Dixie County winner vs. #1 Trenton, 5 p.m.; Chiefland/Bronson winner vs. Bell, 7 p.m.
Friday – Championship, 7 p.m.