The Trojan baseball team celebrates after winning the Region IV Tournament Championship May 14

Trojans Capture Region IV Baseball Title – Continue Quest for World Series Berth

The Triton College baseball team christened the new Symonds-Puckett Field with its first postseason celebration as the Trojans won the NJCAA Region IV Division I crown with a 9-4 victory Saturday over South Suburban College.

For Triton (36-18), it is their 21st regional title in program history, the first since 2009, ending a string of five consecutive Region IV championships for the Bulldogs. The Trojans who are an impressive 22-5 in their new digs will host the NJCAA Northern District Tournament Friday through Sunday at Symonds-Puckett Field. Triton will open the tournament against Region 24 champion Wabash Valley College (Mt. Carmel, Ill.) Friday at 1 p.m. The winner of the district tournament will advance to the NJCAA Division I World Series May 28-June 4 in Grand Junction, Colo.

“I think this is a special group because of the overall makeup and character of the team,” said head coach Harry Torgerson, who was awarded Region IV Coach of the Year following the win. “We talk about grinding out at bats, winning innings and the guys have bought into that.”

The Trojans followed that winning formula during a three-run third inning to take a 5-3 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish. Corey Krupske (Lincoln-Way North) and tournament MVP Trayvon Johnson (St. Joseph, Ill.) started the frame with singles. James Battley (St. Joseph, Wis.) would drive in Krupske on a sacrifice fly to tie the game at three.  On the play, Johnson took second and stole third during Justin Gorr’s (Bay City, Mich.) at bat. Gorr would eventually walk and Johnson scored on a ground out to shortstop by Connor Pauly (Glenbrook South) to give Triton a 4-3 edge. Anthony Tejeda (Cape Coral, Fla.) tripled to center to bring home Gorr to cap the inning.

South Suburban (24-29-1) pulled within 5-4, but the Trojans put the game out of reach with three runs in their half of the seventh on an RBI groundout by Tejeda and a two-run single by Ryan Leo (Corona, N.Y.)

Chad DeGroot (Lincoln-Way East) had a solid outing to improve to 3-0. The redshirt sophomore threw 114 pitches in 7 and a 1/3 innings pitched, allowing four runs, three were earned while striking out five. Zach Jackovich (Joliet Catholic) was unhittable in relief. The right hander recorded the final five outs including striking out the last four batters he faced to close out the win for Triton.

The MVP was a tough pick because there were several players who made an impact throughout the tournament, but Torgerson felt Johnson got the nod by saving runs with his defense on the infield and picking up some timely hits. The redshirt sophomore and Berkeley resident was surprised he was selected MVP and was focused on what he and his teammates accomplished.

“I’m speechless,” Johnson said afterwards. “It’s nice to get the award, but it’s about my teammates. We knew we had a good team coming into the season that was capable of doing something special. It was a matter of how bad we wanted it and we worked hard to win the region and will need the do the same (at the district tournament).”

Click here for the full NJCAA Northern District tournament schedule.

For more information on Triton College Athletics, contact Triton College Athletic Director Harry McGinnis at (708) 4560300, Ext. 3784, or visit