Piqua Daily Call
TROY — It may not have taken nine innings this time.
But it was a battle just the same.
In the end, the Troy softball team made the most of its opportunities in an 8-5 win over Piqua to split the series and leave both teams tied for third in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play.
Piqua is 16-7 and all games and 8-6 in GWOC American North play, while Troy is 10-14 overall and 8-6 in GWOC American North play.
Piqua has one conference game left with Fairborn, while Troy has one left with Trotwood-Madison.
“I know at one point, I asked the Piqua coach (Greg Campbell) if we were going to play nine innings again,” Troy coach Scott Beeler said. “Really, the Troy-Piqua games are always close, with the exception of last year.”
Piqua coach Greg Campbell was disappointed with his team’s play.
“Troy is a good team,” he said. “We had some mistakes on defense. When you make mistakes against a team like Troy, they are going to make you pay.”
Ironically, all the runs were scored in the first and third innings, with Piqua taking the lead both times before Troy quickly answered.
In the first, Piqua’s Hannah Anderson led off with a triple and would score on Mariah Blankenship’s single.
“Hannah (Anderson) was hitting the ball when he had her at number 2 (in the order) and when we moved her to leadoff, she has just kept hitting.”
Troy answered with two runs in the home first.
Paige Nadolny and Jaiden Hunt walked and with two out, Tia Bass singled to load the bases.
Josie Rohlfs singled to right field to score courtesy runner Lexi Piper and when the ball got away, Hunt scored as well.
The game stayed 2-1 until the third.
Piqua broke through for four runs to go up 5-2.
After Hannah Anderson and Kamy Trissell singled, Paige Hinkle was hit by a pitch.
Kenzi Anderson singled into leftfield and when the ball got away, both Hannah Anderson and Trissell scored.
With two outs, Reagan Toopes drilled a single to score Hinkle and Kenzi Anderson to make it 5-2, before Toopes was out at second to end the inning.
But, it didn’t take Troy long to regain the lead.
With one out, Bass walked and Rohlfs singled.
Skylar Kline reached on an error, with Bass scoring.
Ella Furlong had a single to load the bases and a misjudged fly ball turned into a two-run double for Lauren Fonner.
Megan Malott had an RBI single and Briana Lavender had a two-out, two-run double to make it 8-5 before the inning ended.
“That has kind of been the story of our season,” Beeler said about the two-out hitting. “When we do that, we are successful.”
Neither team could score again, but both had chances.
Troy had second and third with one out in the fourth and first and second with no outs in the sixth, but could not add to its lead.
Piqua had second and third with one out in the fifth and had a leadoff walk in the seventh.
But after a fielder’s choice, Furlong caught a line drive at third and threw to first to double off the Piqua runner for a game-ending double play.
“We didn’t get any bunts down,” Campbell said. “It is important to be productive in those situations, even if its is a productive out.”
Blankenship pitched an eight-hitter for Piqua, striking out three and walking four.
Erica Keenan pitched an eight-hitter for Troy, striking out eight, walking one and hitting one batter.
“It says a lot for Erica (Keenan) to go two days in a row after pitching nine innings yesterday (Monday),” Beeler said. “She had quite few strikeouts. This was big for us in a lot of ways. We wanted to win for the seniors. And third place gives us one more nomination (for the all-conference team).”
And as always when it Troy and Piqua get together, it was a battle.
You can reach Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org
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