By Josh Brown
TROY — At this point, the only thing that can slow down the Troy Christian baseball team seems to be the weather.
The Metro Buckeye Conference-leading Eagles got off to a slow start Thursday against Yellow Springs, falling behind 2-0 before putting together a five-run rally in the second inning to take control. They continued to build on that lead in the third, as well, before the rain made their home field too treacherous to continue playing on, and the game was suspended with Troy Christian leading 8-2.
It was simply the continuation of a solid stretch for the Eagles (8-4, 5-0 MBC), who have won four straight since a non-league loss to Newton and eight of their last nine. The team is currently tied with Dayton Christian atop the MBC — with a series against the Warriors on the horizon on May 3 and 5.
“We’re playing really good baseball right now,” Troy Christian coach Tony Ferraro said. “We believe that if we throw strikes and make the plays on defense, our offense is going to come through. And more often than not, it has.
“We’ve won all of our league games by manufacturing runs. We do a good job of hitting behind the baserunners and putting the ball in play. I’m proud of all of our boys. We’ve got 12 young men who are all contributing and making plays.”
On Monday, the Eagles routed Jackson Center 15-0. Pitcher Peyton Forrer was dominant through all five innings, striking out 11, walking one and only allowing one hit in the shutout. And offensively, Scott Douglas scored four runs, Jacob Williams had three RBIs and Cameron Davee and Chase Hayden each had three hits.
And in a 5-0 victory over MBC foe Emmanuel Christian on Wednesday, Williams got the win on the mound, striking out 11, walking four and scattering six hits in six innings of work, with Douglas striking out three and allowing two hits in the final inning to close it out. Jon Slone, Davee and Forrer each had two hits in the game, and Louden Saulbeamer had the big hit, a two-run double.
Thursday, Yellow Springs put a momentary scare into the team.
Donnie Isenbarger singled and stole second base with one out in the top of the first, then J.T. Clark followed that with a solid RBI single to right. A passed ball and an error allowed Clark to score, and the Bulldogs led 2-0 after the top of the first.
Douglas led off the bottom of the inning for the Eagles with a single and stole second, but the next two hitters struck out against Yellow Springs’ ace Hakeem Truss, going down chasing tough-to-lay-off high fastballs. A groundout to second ended the inning and left the runner stranded.
But Troy Christian starter Sam Kirkpatrick bounced back in the next two innings, only allowing another single by Isenbarger in the third and keeping the Bulldogs in check. And in the bottom of the second, the Eagles were able to capitalize on everything Yellow Springs gave them.
Hayden reached on an error and Williams was hit by a pitch, then both runners stole to move up to second and third. A wild pitch on a walk to Forrer allowed one run to score, then Saulbeamer blooped an RBI single to right — the Eagles’ only hit in the inning. Andrew Strait bunted and drew an errant throw on the play to load the bases, then Douglas hit an RBI groundout to short and Slone put down a suicide squeeze for another RBI before the Bulldogs finally got out of the inning, making it 5-2 Troy Christian.
“We did what we’re supposed to do that inning,” Ferraro said. “If we can put the ball in play and not strike out, we can manufacture runs.”
That trend continued in the bottom of the third, too. Davee drew a leadoff walk, then Hayden bunted for a hit and drew an error that allowed Davee to score all the way from first, taking third base himself. Williams reached on a fielder’s choice as Yellow Springs threw home to keep Hayden from scoring, but a series of wild pitches allowed both runners to eventually score and make it 8-2 before the steadily-increasing rain finally caused the game to be suspended.
Oddly enough, it was another day full of bad weather early in the season that convinced the team just how good it really could be.
“We played Oakwood in a doubleheader in the snow (on April 2) and split with them,” Ferraro said. “We lost 6-5 and won 6-5. That’s a team that’s won 14 games now (Oakwood is 14-6). From that point on, we knew we could play with anyone.”
The Eagles are scheduled to host Xenia Christian Friday in another MBC matchup and then travel to West Liberty-Salem for a doubleheader Saturday, but Saturday may turn into a doubleheader against Yellow Springs, since their first game against the Bulldogs earlier this week was rained out. No makeup date for Thursday’s suspended game had been made official at time of press.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.