By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy Post 43’s penchant for come-from-behind wins finally came back to bite it.
And just like that, the momentum the team had built over its five-game winning streak reversed course.
Post 43 (8-5) came out flat early in the opening game of its Miami Valley Veterans Appreciation Tournament Friday night at Duke Park, unable to get the big hit late in a 4-1 loss to the Miamisburg ‘Canes. And in the late game, the Springfield Titans — who Troy had swept in a doubleheader on Wednesday — plated five second-inning runs without hitting a ball out of the infield to take control and hand Post 43 a 12-3 loss.
“We won eight out of nine coming in, but we didn’t play very well tonight,” Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said. “We have some relative inexperience in some parts of the game. Our pitchers were pitching from behind in counts, we’d make silly mistakes — and those mistakes get compounded when you’re playing college-aged guys.
“We could’ve played better. That’s all I can tell you.”
Against Miamisburg, Post 43 took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second as Hunter Cohee drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a single by Cory Cotrell and scored on an error. But Miamisburg tied the game in the top of the third, scored a pair in the fourth and added one more insurance run in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
Starter Mitchell Lindsey took the loss, giving up four hits, two walks and three earned runs in 3 2-3 innings while striking out four. Noah Roswell and Anthony Steele held the ‘Canes in check in relief to give Post 43 a chance, but the big hit never came as Troy left runners stranded on the corners in the bottom of the sixth and left another pair of runners on in the seventh.
Greg Peffley was 4 for 4 in the game in the leadoff spot but only managed to advance to second base twice, Cotrell was 2 for 3 and Ethan Garland and Brandon Nesbitt each had a hit.
In the late game against the Titans, Dalton Lee got the start and looked strong early, pitching an easy one-two-three first. But in the second, an infield single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with no outs, giving Springfield a chance to play the short game. Brandon Beegle laid down an RBI bunt single as the throw to the plate was a split second late, then an RBI walk chased Lee from the game in favor of Roswell. A bunt by Dylan Youngblood popped just out of a diving Roswell’s reach brought home another run, then an RBI groundout by Joe Sanchez and another RBI infield single by Kawambe Moss made it 5-0 — with the Titans not having made solid contact once.
The Titans got another run in the third after a leadoff walk, a pair of groundouts to move the runner to third and a wild pitch to score him. And in the fourth, Matt Harris hit a two-run single — the first ball that Springfield had hit out of the infield in the game — to put Troy behind 8-0 halfway through the game.
But in the bottom of the fourth, Troy finally began to put something together.
Kieran Williams beat out an infield single and Steele reached on an error to start the inning, then Ian Yunker drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Frank Gmuca then drove in a run with a sharp single up the middle, and an RBI groundout by Jacob Coleman made it an 8-2 game. But after another walk reloaded the bases, Troy hit into a rally-killing double play to end the inning.
“We’re not using our hitting discipline,” Brown said. “And a lot of our faults are coming with one strike. When we get a strike against us, we have a tendency to almost hit like we have two strikes. In the first game, the kid only threw breaking balls with two strikes — and we never recognized it. And the second kid (Springfield’s Matt Harris) just threw strikes the whole game. It’s a guessing game for our guys out there, it seems.
“A lot of these problems are carried over from the spring. But we’re seeing good pitchers now on a daily basis, and the kids just aren’t used to it.”
Troy continued to try to fight back in the fifth. Cotrell got hit with a pitch to lead off, Cohee singled and Williams reached on an error to load the bases. Steele drove in a run with a fielder’s choice to make it an 8-3 game — but another inning-ending double play dashed any hopes of a Post 43 rally.
From there, Harris pitched a one-two-three sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Nesbitt in the seventh but didn’t allow the runner past first base to close out the win. And the Titans added four runs in the top of the seventh to seal it, including a two-run triple by Sanchez, who scored on an error, and an RBI groundout by Harris.
“Every teams goes through something,” Brown said. “We’re just going through multiple things.
Post 43 played Hillsboro Legion and the Columbus Braves — who defeated Troy in last year’s championship game — Saturday night in two games that were not complete at time of press. Troy will face the Circleville Panthers at 3 p.m. Sunday, needing to win all three of those games to have a chance to play in the 5:30 p.m. championship game.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.