By Josh Brown
TROY — Dalton Cascaden didn’t expect to be in the situation he found himself in.
He probably shouldn’t have been to start with — but he definitely made the most of it.
After Troy squandered a 7-1 lead it had built in just two innings, giving up six runs in the final two innings to allow West Carrollton to tie the score, Cascaden found himself up with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh — and he ripped a clutch game-winning walkoff single to close out an 8-7 Trojan victory Friday at Market Street Field.
“I was relieved,” he said after getting the hit. “We should never have been in that situation, though. I didn’t expect to be at all.”
West Carrollton got a run in the top of the first, but Troy answered in a big way in the bottom of the inning. Nick Sanders tied the score with a huge one-out home run, then after a single by Trenton Wood and a walk by Kevin McGraw, Alex Magoteaux hit an RBI double down the first base line. The Pirates balked in another run and a fourth scored on a wild pitch to empty the bases — but Troy didn’t stop there. Daniel Powell and Cascaden hit back-to-back singles, then Zach Thompson ripped an RBI single up the middle. Ryan Lavy, the 10th hitter in the inning, finished things off with an RBI single, and Troy led 6-1. And after an error on a bloop in the bottom of the second, Troy held a 7-1 lead.
“We came out pretty strong,” Troy baseball coach Ty Welker said. “But you expect to keep scoring after that, and we just didn’t. Our intensity level dropped after that, and we should not have let that happen.”
The score was still that way through five innings, though, thanks to quality performances by starter Ben Langdon and reliever Jared Bair. Langdon gave up one hit and one run in two innings of work, striking out three, while Bair gave up no earned runs in four innings of work and piling up five strikeouts.
But in the top of the sixth inning, West Carrollton capitalized on a walk and a hit batter thanks to an error on a double play attempt.
“We always talk about just getting outs,” Welker said. “If we just get one out in that situation, it’s a big deal. But instead we go for the double play and throw it into right field, and two runs come in.”
Things got worse in the top of the seventh, though. Two walks and an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases, and a walk brought in a run for West Carrollton, making it 7-4. After Ryan Lavy entered the game, Mikel Merker hit an RBI single up the middle, and an error on the relay allowed a second run to score. An RBI groundout later, the score was tied.
But West Carrollton’s Tyler Wilson — who had done a decent job of shutting Troy down after entering in relief in the second inning — ran into control issues in the bottom of the seventh. Three straight four-pitch walks loaded the bases, but the Pirates were able to get an out at the plate on a dropped pop-up to short left field — bringing up Cascaden with one out, who was 1 for 3 at that point but had flown out to the warning track in left his last time up.
“I definitely wanted to be up in that situation,” Cascaden said. “I just missed that one before, it didn’t feel good off the bat. My approach was just to get the ball on the bat, and if it was a popup, it had to be deep enough to get the run in.”
Wilson continued to have control issues, going 3-1 to Cascaden, but a called strike brought the count full.
“I was thinking if it was anywhere close at all, I was swinging,” Cascaden said.
It was, and he did, blasting what would have been a bases-clearing double in any other situation to left field. But the one run it did bring in was all that mattered.
”We watched a ton of pitches that inning, and then Cascaden had a really good at-bat,” Welker said.
Troy (6-5) hosts Greenville Monday to kick off a key Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division series.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 440-5251 or email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.