Following the team’s most successive season in school history, Freedom High School baseball coach Tripp Merrell has stepped down from the Patriots to accept the same position at Wesley Chapel.
Merrell, who had been the coach at Freedom for four seasons, departs after leading the Patriots to a program-best record 17-9, finishing as the Class 5A-District 6 runner-up. Freedom reached the regional tournament for just the third time in program history, and saw the season end with a 12-2 loss to River Ridge. Merrell was 36-43 in his Patriots tenure.
Merrell, who lives in Wesley Chapel, said being close to home and family factored into his decision to switch programs. He takes over for Brett Baudendistel, who stepped down at the end of the 2022 school year as coach and athletic director.
The Wildcats were 12-10 this season.
At Freedom, assistant coach Dane Moore, a 2010 graduate of the school, will take over Merrell’s old post. Moore has been with the team for the previous three seasons.
Merrell handpicked Moore as his replacement, to maintain consistency with the program’s goals and coaching style.