By Josh Brown
PIQUA — Tuesday, everything went Troy’s way.
Wednesday, nothing went either the Trojans’ or Piqua Indians’ way.
In the end, though, Troy was able to overcome one bad inning — where Piqua scored four runs on only one hit — by plating four in the top of the sixth on a mere two hits, rallying to take the lead and holding on to sweep the rival Indians 6-4 Wednesday at Hardman Field to improve to 3-3 overall, 2-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division.
Troy baseball coach Ty Welker liked the fight he saw from his team.
“You judge yourself when there’s adversity, not when everything’s going your way,” he said. “A win like that tells us something about this team, about the character it has.”
Troy took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, cashing in a leadoff double by Ryan Lavy with an RBI single by Nick Sanders. But in the bottom of the inning, with standout Zach Kendall on the mound, everything that could go wrong did.
The first three batters in the inning drew walks, but Kendall got a popout to second for the first out. Piqua then failed to score on a fly ball to left as the runner on third wasn’t paying attention and didn’t remember to tag up — and suddenly it looked like the Trojans might get out of it unscathed.
A wild pitch brought in one run, though, and then Bryan Mayse hit a pop foul that the Troy defense dropped — a play that would have ended the inning. Instead, Mayse ripped a two-run double to give the Indians the lead. An error kept the inning going, then a fourth run came home on another wild pitch, giving the Indians (2-3, 0-2) a 4-2 lead.
Piqua scored its four runs on only one hit — Mayse’s double — three walks, two errors and two wild pitches.
“We understand exactly what happened in that inning,” Welker said. “When you walk three in a row, you put your own back against the wall. But Zach needs to be able to work his way out of those spots.”
Trenton Wood doubled and scored on an error in the top of the fourth to cut the Piqua lead to one, then the Trojans loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the sixth. But Piqua’s Austin Reedy came in and struck out three consecutive batters, and the Indians held onto the lead.
“You’re always trying to figure out what kind of team you are. Bases loaded, no one out and not getting anything out of it, I’ve been part of teams in the past that just couldn’t recover from something like that,” Welker said. “But this team showed its character today.”
Alec Demore — who eventually got the win — took over in relief and left the bases stranded in the bottom of the fifth, bringing up Troy in the fateful sixth inning. After Reedy recorded the first out, a walk, a hit batter and a single by Greg Johnson loaded the bases. Sanders — who was 3 for 4 with three RBIs in the game — blasted a two-run double off the base of the wall in right-center to tie the score, then Troy took the lead on a wild pitch. Peyton Cartwright entered for Piqua and got a strikeout for the second out, but an error allowed another run to score and make it 6-4 Troy.
Troy scored its four runs in the inning on two hits, three walks, a hit batter and two errors.
Demore left runners stranded on second and third in the bottom of the sixth, then Ryan Lavy came in and closed the door, striking out two and walking one in the seventh to earn a save.
“Ryan had no doubt in his mind that he was going to shut them down in the seventh. That’s the mentality a guy coming in in that situation needs,” Welker said. “After a game like this, we’re never going to consider ourselves out of a game again. We’re always going to battle to the end. We showed a lot of character to fight back today, and that’s nice to know about ourselves.”
Of course, that isn’t necessarily “Plan A.”
“We don’t want to be in that situation again, obviously,” Welker said with a chuckle. “We’d like to lead from start to finish in every game. But it’s nice to know we can battle back.”
Troy hosts Bellefontaine Friday in a 5:45 p.m. start.
Troy001 104 0 — 6 6 2
Piqua004 000 0 — 4 4 3
Kendall, Demore (5), Lavy (7) and Sanders. Baumeister, Reedy (5), Cartwright (6) and Nix. WP — Demore. LP — Reedy. SV — Lavy. 2B — Lavy (T), Wood (T). Mayse (P). Records: Piqua 2-3, 0-2. Troy 3-3, 2-0.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 440-5251 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.