Truman baseball coach Corey Lathrom had to ask William Chrisman first base coach Jake Kates a question.
"I yelled over to Jake at first, ‘Why does (your son) Trey hit right-handed and throw left-handed?’" Lathrom said following a 6-5 win over the Bears in the second game of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader.
The younger Kates – a freshman who had thrown two shutout innings of relief and made three sensational defensive plays at first base in a 13-11 win over Van Horn in the first game of the all-Independence doubleheader – answered Lathrom’s question with a booming two-run homer in the fourth inning.
"After Trey hit that homer, I looked over at Corey and said, ‘That’s why he hits right-handed,’" Jake Kates said with a laugh. "As a dad, I can’t even tell you how proud I am of Trey and our team today. Corey’s guys got us in that second game, but what a great day for Independence baseball."
Following the game, Chrisman seniors Billy Ross, Nathan Potts, Matt Miller and Frankie Gervy were honored, along with their parents, in an emotional ceremony.
"Words can’t describe how I feel today," Bears head coach Miles Shelton said. "We won our first game, everyone who played today made a contribution and we get to honor our seniors – four guys who have meant so much to this program. It doesn’t get any better than this."
Two Truman seniors played a big role in the Patriots’ victory as starting pitcher Holden Brooks allowed just two runs in five innings and had three strikeouts and Bradley Menzies had two RBI singles and drove home what proved to be the winning run in the top of the fourth inning.
"I woke up today so excited, so nervous, I just couldn’t wait to get on the mound this afternoon," Brooks said. "We scored just enough runs to get the win and we all had fun. We were playing baseball – we always have fun when we get to play baseball."
Menzies nodded in agreement and added, "Everyone contributed today and the young guys, like Dane Blankenship, helped us seniors get a win over our big rivals."
Lathrom owned one of the biggest smiles in the dugout following the game.
"I could tell what this game meant when our guys walked up before the game," Lathrom said. "They were smiling, they were excited. They had the pre-game jitters and all they were talking about was baseball.
"None of us will ever forget today."
Truman’s Zach Servi had a single, RBI double and scored two runs; Bryce Greenwalt added two singles and scored a run; leadoff hitter Randy Ayala-Lopez scored two runs and Hayden Torpey picked up the save.
Ross had a double and home run and Andru Campos had two singles for the Bears.