By Josh Brown
TROY — The Troy Post 43 baseball team kicked off its second full week of play with a gutsy come-from behind victory to begin a doubleheader against Pemberville Legion.
The second game, however, showed how much work the team still has to do.
Post 43 improved to 5-3 on the season after splitting a doubleheader Monday night at Duke Park, rallying from a three-run deficit to knock off Pemberville 4-3 in the first game but then falling behind by even more in the second game and never recovering in an 11-0 loss.
“Pemberville’s always pretty decent, so we kind of knew what we were getting into,” Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said. “They had some outstanding hitting.”
Pemberville’s offense was a problem in both games.
Troy Post 43 starter Kaleb Bowdle gave up a leadoff double to begin the game, but he settled down and left that runner stranded. In the second inning, though, Pemberville strung together back-to-back singles after another leadoff double to take the lead, got another RBI single with one out and scored a third run on a wild pitch to take a 3-0 lead after two.
Brown wasn’t worried about this year’s team giving up, though.
“The last two years, we would have (gotten down on ourselves),” Brown said. “But this is a more athletic team. We’re athletes in this group, and they know they can perform and do things. When we learn to be complementary of each other’s skills — because they do complement each other — that’ll be a good thing.”
Post 43 got on the board in the third inning, cashing in a leadoff double by Nick Hundley, who advanced to third on a groundout with two outs and then came home on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 3-1 after three complete. And in the fourth, Troy tied the score at 3-3 as Austin Kendall beat out an infield single, Brandon Wilson walked and Bowdle reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. With one out, Keaton Mohler blooped in an RBI single to right and then Jacob Duncan followed with a game-tying RBI single before Pemberville turned a double play to get out of the inning.
That’s where the score remained until the bottom of the sixth, when Troy was able to take the lead by catching Pemberville sleeping. Wilson beat out an infield single to lead off, but a pair of flyouts made it seem like Post 43 wouldn’t be able to put anything together. But Wilson stole second base on the pitcher, getting a break so big that the catcher couldn’t even make an attempt, and then Mohler hit a flare that the charging right fielder got his glove on but couldn’t bring in, a run-scoring error that gave Troy a 4-3 lead.
“I was letting the hitters hit since we were in the middle of the lineup. Maybe I’ve been trusting them a little too much,” Brown said when asked about the stolen base that led to the winning run. “Hopefully they’ll start to come around and it’ll be worth the gamble. We’re not always coming through right now.”
Defensively, meanwhile, Bowdle settled in and pitched six strong innings to get the win, giving up eight hits but only walking one and striking out six, leaving six runners stranded in the game — five in scoring position — and only giving up the three runs in the third. And in the seventh, after Post 43 had taken the lead in the bottom of the sixth, Duncan came in to pitch a one-two-three inning to pick up a save.
“(In the first game) we changed our approach pitching-wise in about the third inning,” Brown said. “Kaleb had a really good breaking ball and threw some nice changeups — one of them was a hit, but he still had the guy fooled on it. And at the end, they had their two best left-handed hitters coming up within four batters (in the seventh) and we were worried about that, so we put Duncan in. He makes people beat it into the ground — that’s his specialty, and he got it done.
“I thought we did a pretty good job overall. We had a couple of overthrows (from the outfield) early in the game that let them run up a couple runs on us, but those are things you can get better at.”
In the second game, though, things went downhill fast as Pemberville built a big lead and wrapped up an 11-0 victory to earn a split on the night.
“This team’s really deep,” Brown said. “We’re capable of doing some stuff. Our hitting is still coming around. We’re still working on some basic hitting fundamentals. Sometimes kids don’t understand that you’ve got to load faster in this league because the pitchers are better.
“I thought (the first game) was a good game, and I know it’s against a good team. They’re always somebody to contend with.”
Troy was scheduled to play the Miami Valley Machine in a Post 43 Legends game on Tuesday before traveling to Piqua to take on league rival Post 184 on Wednesday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.