By Josh Brown
INDIANAPOLIS — Even though there were plenty of frustrating moments throughout the National Wood Bat Championships tournament Friday through Sunday at Butler University, Troy Post 43 Legends coach Frosty Brown had plenty to be pleased about.
His Legends went 3-3 over the weekend, competing in every game and eventually taking second in the “red division” championship game with a 2-1 loss to the Indianapolis BAM in a game that was cut short due to time limit constraints.
“This was a very successful trip to Indianapolis to compete in the National Wood Bat Tournament,” Brown said. “It’s great to see that we are still improving this late in the season. We were in every game. We were focused, our pitchers did a great job, we played good defense and faced some good pitching. Every game was close, and we finished in the finals of the red division. We lost three of the six games we played by a total of four runs.”
Post 43 began the tournament on Friday with a game against the Louisville Legends, falling 4-2. Keaton Mohler walked, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Brandon Wilson to put Troy on top in the first inning, but in the top of the second a couple of walks and errors and one hit triggered a three-run rally that Post 43 never recovered from. Troy Powers pitched the game, striking out eight in the loss.
In Friday’s second game, the Legends took on the Indianapolis Titans, winning 6-2 in a six-inning game that hit the one-hour, 45-minute time limit — which was imposed on the rest of the tournament after rain on Thursday washed out the tournament’s opening day — and was called early. Ian Yunker pitched for Troy, striking out eight and limiting the Titans to only four hits. And offensively, Post 43 scored all six of its runs in the second inning, with the big hit being a two-run Jacob Duncan double in addition to an RBI single by Wilson and an RBI sac fly by Kaleb Bowdle.
Knowing they needed a win over Brampton, Ontario, to make the playoffs, the Legends’ Wilson scattered four hits and struck out five in another solid pitching performance in a 6-1 Post 43 win. Yunker had a pair of doubles offensively, while Mohler, Wilson, Austin Kendall and Andy Wargo each had two hits.
That led to a Saturday night showdown against the Indianapolis Prospects, the No. 1 team in the tournament — a game that Troy lost 3-2 as the Prospects won pool play.
The Legends got a pair of runs in the first on RBI singles by Wilson and Wargo, and Bowdle struck out six, allowed three hits and gave up only one run in the first six innings. However, Troy had an insurance run taken off the board in the fourth when Kendall tagged up and scored on a short sac fly, only to be called out on an appeal to third.
“The game turned on that terrible call in the fourth,” Brown said. “I’ve been coaching 47 years, and I know he left on time. It was just a poor call, and instead of a two-run lead, it was only one.”
And in the top of the seventh, the Prospects took advantage, scoring twice to claim the lead. Wargo singled and stole second to get into scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but he was left stranded to close the game.
Troy then began play on the final day of the tournament on Sunday with its second time around against the Louisville Legends. With the score tied going into the seventh, Post 43 put up four runs, starting off with an RBI sac fly by Wilson and then a three-run double by Duncan to give Troy a big enough cushion to hold on for a 7-5 victory and put the Legends in the red division championship game against the Indianapolis BAM.
Jacob Arthur — who hadn’t pitched in two weeks due to an injury — Powers and Adam Ott combined on a solid effort, but the BAM got a pair of fourth-inning runs to take the lead.
“Jacob had not pitched in two weeks, and his two innings were solid. He threw hard,” Brown said. “Adam pitched a scoreless fifth, and Troy threw great too. His fastball and curve were impressive. But in a close game at 0-0, it requires good pitch selection, and I messed up twice in the fourth. That inning was my fault, and I cost Troy a single and double that put us behind 2-0.”
In the sixth, Arthur walked and scored on a double by J.R. Young — who just missed a game-tying homer on the play — to cut the lead to one, but the game was stopped due to the time limit and the BAM won 2-1.
“For the life of me, why they played this game under a one-hour, 45-minute time limit is beyond me,” Brown said. “There were no more games on that field to follow.”
Tuesday night, Post 43 played a makeup Western Ohio League game to decide seeding for the beginning of Saturday’s regional legion tournament, then the Legends host the Dayton Machine — a 22-and-up team — on Wednesday night.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.