Updated: Feb 19, 2020
High School baseball is only days away in the state of Florida. The Trinity Christian Academy Conquerors have a new roster, a new head coach, and a renewed optimism for a successful 2020 campaign. Last year, TCA went deep into the playoffs, and this year's crew looks to do the same. Here is a look into the upcoming exciting season of Trinity Christian Academy Baseball 2020.
Quick summary of 2019:
The Conquerors are coming off a terrific 20-8 record and a final four appearance one year ago. The 2019 Conquerors won their first nine games against some of the toughest competitors in the nation as demonstrated in both the Georgia and Las Vegas tournaments.
The Conquerors then lost four straight before finishing the regular season on an 11-4 run and earning the second seed in the district tournament. Trinity won the district with a fabulous 3-1 win over Providence in the semifinal and 6-1 victory over Episcopal in the title game.
The Conquerors then defeated North Bay Academy and Episcopal in the regional playoffs before falling to American Heritage in the Class 4A state semifinal.
2020 Varsity Schedule
The 2020 Conquerors, having lost 11 players from a year ago to graduation and two more key pieces to transfers, have a much younger team and just as tough a schedule. New head coach Jonathan Murphy has the Conquerors playing many top-notch opponents for the same reason we always have seen in all TCA sports: preparation for district play and the postseason.
This year, Trinity Christian will play only four home games within the first 17 through March 31. However, a very home-laden schedule runs through the month of April.
The Conquerors will again compete in the LaGrange Invitational (February 27-29) in LaGrange, Georgia, and the TCA Tournament of Champions at home on March 20 and 21.
Road games feature Trinity visiting non-district perennial rivals in Providence, Ridgeview, Bolles, Terry Parker, and North Florida Christian. Trinity's non-district home games include playoff contenders North Florida Christian, Terry Parker, and a newcomer to the schedule in Stanton College Prep.
Out-of-towners we rarely see include Stephenson and Middle Tennessee Christian, making their way to Jacksonville.
Trinity will also play at West Nassau and Christ's Church Academy and home vs. St. Johns Country Day School among other high-rated teams.
Key Returning Players, Graduating Class, Positions:
Justin Simmons, 2020, 1B/OF
Sebastian Moore, 2020, Catcher
Denver Woods, 2020, OF
Bryce Janney, 2020, RHP
Kanyon James, 2020, LHP
C.J. Crawford, 2022, RHP/INF
Key New Additions and Promotions, Graduating Class, Positions
Raylan Wagner, 2020, RHP, 3B
Drew Sullivan, 2021, RHP
Alonzo Austin, 2022, INF
Noah Couch, 2022, RHP/OF
Eric Fouraker, 2022, Catcher
Ashton Nugent, 2023, INF
Toughest Part of Schedule
Coach Murphy described the brutal schedule the Conquerors will play in 2020. "The LaGrange tournament this year has one of the toughest fields in the last couple of years," he said. "Our first two opponents are ranked by Perfect Game in the Top 50 in the country. Russell County (#25) and Buford (#31) will present a great early season challenge for the team. Our third opponent, Northside (Columbus, Georgia), finished in the Top 100 in the country last year."
This school year's reclassification has the Conquerors playing in Class 3A, District 3, which means new teams to battle for the right to advance to the state playoffs. The Conquerors' 2020 district opponents are Baldwin, Bishop Snyder, Bradford, Keystone Heights, and P.K. Younge.
Coach Murphy (formerly of Providence) remembers the terrific season Bishop Snyder had a year ago, and he knows the Cardinals will play just as hard in 2020. "Bishop Snyder returns most of its starters from a solid team last year," he said. Bishop Snyder was the only district opponent to defeat Trinity -- and the only team seeded higher than TCA in last year's 4A, District 2 Tournament.
Biggest Challenge Preparing for the Season:
A near-completely new varsity roster and starting lineup this season pose challenges that Coach Murphy, his coaching staff, and the players are ready to tackle. The rising Conquerors recognize and accept their opportunity, and they are ready to compete for a district title and beyond.
Of this roster, Coach Murphy said, "We have a young group that is learning and adjusting to a new level of baseball. So far, they have been up to the challenge, and I look forward to seeing them continue to rise to the occasion."
The Conquerors do have some deep-playoff-experienced players returning from last year's state semifinal team. These players share their expertise with the new varsity players and help mentor the JV and Middle School teams as well. About their eagerness and preparation for the new season, Coach Murphy said this about his 2020 Conquerors: "We have a young team with a good mix of veteran leadership, and they are excited to prove they can compete with anyone in the country."
The regular season begins on February 21 at Providence. The first home game is against Stanton College Prep on Friday, March 6.