By Josh Brown
TROY — This year’s Troy Post 43 learned a valuable lesson Wednesday night.
“Good things happen when a team refuses to give up,” Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said. “We needed every player in this game, and they all came through.”
After falling far behind early and trailing by seven midway through the game, Troy rallied with a four-run bottom of the ninth inning to tie the score — and rallied once more to re-tie the game in the bottom of the 10th — and when Post 43 finally got its chance to win, it took it in the 12th for a thrilling 12-11 victory over Pemberville Post 183 Wednesday at Duke Park.
“We were down 10-3 after four and a half innings,” Brown said. “But we all knew we had time because, in Legion baseball, we play nine innings. I felt all along that we could come back if we could just stop Pemberville’s early momentum.”
One of Pemberville’s best weapons, starting pitcher Eric Snyderman, proved to be a weakness once Post 43 (3-2) was able to get past him.
“Their starting pitcher was a 90-92 miles-per-hour guy, and we knew we needed to get his pitch count up so that he couldn’t go all nine innings,” Brown said. “The game was created to be played in nine innings, and that makes a difference.”
Post 43 starter Mitchell Lindsey got into early trouble, falling behind 2-0 after the top of the first. Kieran Williams gave Troy one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single, but Pemberville added three more in the top of the second to go up 5-1. That lead grew to 9-3 after a four-run top of the fourth inning, and 10-3 in the middle of the fifth.
“All too often, young pitchers get too close to the plate on 0-2 counts, and we were guilty of that early in the game,” Brown said. “The college kids will make you pay if you make those kinds of mistakes.
“Pemberville had nine infield hits in this game. It seemed like they dribbled or tapped balls into places we just couldn’t quite get to in those first five innings.”
In the fifth, Nick Matney took over in relief of Dalton Lee, who had come on in the second inning, and Matney held Pemberville in check over the course of the next four innings. And in the bottom of the fifth, Cory Cottrell hit an RBI double and later scored on a passed ball, making the score 10-5.
“At that point, we all knew it was possible,” Brown said.
Troy turned a pair of eighth-inning errors into a run to make it 10-6, and then in the ninth Post 43 came all the way back. A leadoff walk by Greg Peffley and an error led to an RBI single by Hunter Cohee, then Williams hit another RBI single to cut the deficit to two. And with two outs, Cottrell ripped a two-run double to left-center field to even up the score and force extra innings.
Matney gave up an unearned run in the top of the 10th to put Troy behind once more, but that deficit proved to be much more manageable as Peffley hit a one-out triple and Brandon Nesbitt drove him home with an RBI single to tie the score at 11-11.
Logan Donovan held Pemberville scoreless on the mound in the 11th and 12th innings, setting up the game-winning rally in the bottom of the 12th. Peffley kicked things off once again with a one-out single and took second on an errant pickoff attempt, then Nesbitt took a pitch on the outside part of the plate to left field for the game-winning RBI single.
“”They had a right to worry about Peffley, because in five game he has nine stolen bases,” Brown said. “We made some big plays in the last half of the game, we hit the ball much harder than Pemberville did all night and we had great relief pitching from Matney and Donovan.”
Peffley finished the game 3 for 6, Nesbitt was 4 for 6 with three RBIs, Williams was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and was on base five times and Cottrell was 3 for 6 with three RBIs.
Donovan got the victory on the mound, while Matney got credit for a hold.
“Games like this build a team’s character,” Brown said.
Troy traveled to Ottawa Legion Thursday in a game that was not complete at time of press. They host Greenville Legion Friday night at Duke Park to open WOL play.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.