By Josh Brown
TROY — Was Monday a perfect day for baseball? Far from it.
But you’ll never convince Troy’s Derek McDonagh of that.
“I knew it was cold,” the Troy senior said of the 30-degree temperatures. “But I had my double Under Armour on, I’ve got my long sleeves — I was prepared for the game. I knew the conditions were going to be bad, but still, if we’ve got to play, we’ve got to play.”
Sidney, on the other hand, was not ready for McDonagh.
The Troy starter was both efficient and dominant Monday afternoon, pitching a six-inning perfect game by striking out eight and never throwing more than 15 pitches in a single inning, and Braeden Snider’s walkoff two-out RBI single in the bottom of the sixth put an early end to the perfection in a 10-0 Trojan victory over the Yellow Jackets in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play at Market Street Field.
McDonagh — who also threw a no-hitter last season against Xenia and pitched a one-hitter against Greenville in this year’s season opener, another 10-0 run-rule win — needed only 64 total pitches to shut down all 18 Sidney batters he faced on the day. The Jackets (2-3, 1-2 GWOC American North) entered the game hitting .282 as a team but saw their batting average drop to .240 by the day’s end.
“It feels amazing,” McDonagh said. “Again, I just go out there and pitch my game, do what I’m supposed to do, and my defense backs me up. It’s a great feeling because I know, no matter what, my dudes have got my back. I just do my job, and I have full faith in every single one of the defenders behind me. And my catcher, Keiran, I don’t have to worry about anyone running … if anyone gets on base.”
“When he’s on the mound, I know we’ve got a shot. He just threw a real nice game — a perfect game,” Troy coach Ty Welker said. “He just does a nice job when he’s on the mound. He threw a no-hitter last year, and now he’s got a perfect game. He threw a great game down in Georgia, too, we just faced a tremendous baseball team.”
The win makes the Trojans 3-3 on the season and 3-0 in GWOC American North play, snapping a three-game skid as Troy dropped all three games on a trip to the Perfect Game complex in Georgia last week. McDonagh pitched the first game of that trip, a 2-0 loss to Cartersville (GA), as Troy was competitive in all three games against solid competition.
“It was tough,” McDonagh said of the Georgia trip. “The weather was a lot better down there, but the games were a little bit more intense. The competition was tough, but it prepared us for some GWOC games up here. I think that’s why we came out explosive tonight.”
Troy — which entered the game only hitting .244 itself — took a 2-0 lead after the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Sidney starter Zane Walker walked leadoff hitter Matt McGillivary, then Jake Daniel drew a one-out walk, and Williams hit a fielder’s choice into right field that put runners on the corners with two outs. Williams then stole second, and on a wild pitch that easily scored McGillivary, Williams caught Sidney’s catcher sleeping and scored from second on the play as he was slow to get the ball back to the pitcher.
Williams’ play in the first set the tone for the Trojans, who were extremely aggressive on the basepaths, taking the extra base every time they got a chance.
“We watched their catcher, and we saw what he did in that situation,” Welker said. “We were aggressive, but the guys weren’t careless. Anything that was open, we took advantage of today. We did a nice job.”
Walker recovered with a one-two-three second inning, but the Troy offense went back to work in the third. Brandon Emery was hit by a pitch with one out, then on a hit-and-run, Daniel ripped an RBI double over the center fielder’s head, scoring Emery from first. Williams then cashed in Daniel, driving him home with an RBI double of his own off the base of the left-field fence to make it a 4-0 game.
Braeden Snider then led off the bottom of the fourth with a sharp single and Matt Bigley was hit by a pitch, then the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. McGillivary drove in one run on a sac fly, then Emery beat out an infield single, hitting a grounder to the first baseman and beating the pitcher attempting to cover to the bag by a step — and Bigley again caught the Jackets napping, scoring from second on the play to give Troy a 6-0 lead after four.
That lead grew again in the fifth as Cole Brogan beat out an infield single, stole second and took third on an error and then scored on a sac fly by Tyler Brandenburg, making it 7-0 and putting the Trojans three runs away from ending the game early. McDonagh remained perfect after six, getting a called third strike to bring Troy up in the bottom of the inning.
Emery drew a leadoff walk against Sidney reliever Dylan Smith, then Daniel hit a slow roller back up the middle for an infield single — which Emery took third base on, allowing Daniel to take second on the throw to third. Williams drove home both runners with a single up the middle, making it 9-0 and putting the game-ending run on base.
And while McDonagh was ready to go back out for the top of the seventh, his teammates wanted to wrap things up for him early.
“Oh, there was a lot of cheering there in our dugout trying to end that game,” Welker said. “The rest of the guys had an idea of what was going on, and they were trying to make sure that they wouldn’t have to go back out and play defense again. It would’ve been nice for him to throw a full seven innings, and I think he would’ve gone out and taken care of business, but it definitely got a little louder there at the end, trying to finish it out.”
Jacob Adams singled to put two runners on, and they advanced to second and third with one out on a groundout by Austin Kendall. But Smith got a strikeout for the second out to bring up Snider — who deposited a 2-2 pitch in front of the right fielder for a walkoff RBI single to seal McDonagh’s perfect game.
Snider finished the game 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run, Williams was 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs, Daniel was 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI and two runs, Emery was 1 for 2 with two runs and McGillivary and Brandenburg each had an RBI.
Troy finishes the two-game series at Sidney Tuesday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.