Photo courtesy of Nick Ieradi

Clamp for a Cause: The goal behind Trevor Baptiste’s faceoff wins and new PLL record

By Lauren Merola

Jun 21, 2023

This season, victory comes at a price, and it’s one Trevor Baptiste is willing to pay.

For every win at the stripe, the Atlas faceoff specialist will donate a portion of his salary to support lacrosse programs in inner cities. In Week 3 against the Waterdogs, Baptiste won 31 of 36 faceoffs – posting a whopping 86.1 win percentage – and set a new PLL record, shattering his and the league’s former record of 25 wins.

With the record follows $3,100. On June 2, Baptiste announced on Instagram his pledge to donate $100 for every won faceoff this season. Through just the first three games, Baptiste has a $6,500 tab for his 65 (of 87) wins.

“It’s always been about having success on the field and I don’t want anything to get in the way of that, or distract from that, but I want to do my part to keep growing the game and have an impact off the field,” Baptiste said.

Baptiste said he will announce all the organizations receiving a donation at a later date, but one organization that will be on the list is Denver City Lax, whose mission is to create opportunities for youth in underserved neighborhoods by providing access to and equipment for lacrosse. Baptiste is currently a board member of the organization.

The 26-year-old’s pledge applies to each regular season game. Whether or not it continues into the postseason, if Atlas secures a playoff spot, is undetermined, Baptiste said.

“For Trevor, he’s about deeds. He walks the walk. He talks the talk,” Atlas coach Mike Pressler said. “He’s a man you can trust. Our guys think the world of him. For him to dig into his pocket and donate like this sends volumes to the man he is, his strength of character and his caring for people who are not as fortunate as he is.”

Mainly, Baptiste wants the associations with the game to reflect the “many great and different people” who play it, he said.

Lacrosse has long been thought of as a “rich guy, country club” sport, as Baptiste described in a June 7 press conference. But to Baptiste, lacrosse is a sport of toughness, skill and creativity. He wants people to look at it – and be able to access it – the same.

“What I really loved about lacrosse growing up was the creativity around it,” Baptiste said. “You could be any different type of player and you could fit on the field. Maybe you’re a big bruiser or a quick guy, you can customize your skillset to have success in all positions, which is really cool. There are so many different ways you could go about having success.

“It’s almost a paradox. You think about creativity and you can have so many different types of skills and players in different positions, but it’s stigmatized as an exclusive sport.”

Baptiste is a wunderkind at the stripe. In four years at Denver, Baptiste won 1,158 faceoffs, was a four-time All-Big East First Team selection, four-time Tewaaraton nominee and two-time finalist for the award. He graduated from Division I play as the winningest faceoff athlete before Redwoods faceoff specialist TD Ierlan assumed the title.

This season, Baptiste has already set new records, except those numbers are working overtime, contributing to Baptiste’s legacy both on and off the field.

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