By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
HILLSBORO — A win in a close game.
A pair of big offensive efforts.
And even a tough of payback.
The Troy Post 43 Legends had their best weekend of the season Friday and Saturday at the Hillsboro Wood Bat Classic, sweeping their way to a tie for the tournament championship by holding off Portsmouth Legion 2-1 on Friday and then routing Chillicothe Legion 10-4 and host Hillsboro Legion 15-5 in six innings on Saturday to go 3-0 on the weekend. The Legends qualified for Sunday’s championship game, but a rainout allowed Post 43 to share the title with Findlay Legion.
With the wins, Troy improved to 7-9-1 on the season as it departs for Omaha to compete in the prestigious Locker Room CWS Tournament, which kicks off on Wednesday.
The Hillsboro tournament began with Friday’s narrow 2-1 win over Portsmouth.
“We came into this tournament having lost three one-run games,” Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said. “I knew we were close to finding the answer, but things weren’t getting done. We faced some quality teams in the Hillsboro Classic, and we needed to step things up.”
Ian Yunker gave the Legends a good starting point. He pitched a one-hitter against Portsmouth, giving up only one unearned run in the bottom of the seventh, walking none and striking out 11.
Post 43 took the lead in the second as Darius Boeke reached on an error, stole second and third base and eventually scored on an RBI single by Warren Hartzell. And in the fifth, Austin Kendall drove in a much-needed insurance run with a clutch two-out double.
A pair of errors on defense put Troy in a tough spot in the seventh, but Yunker induced back-to-back groundouts, including one with the potential tying run on third base, to close out the win. Kendall and Andy Wargo were both 2 for 4 in the game as the Legends outhit Portsmouth 6-1.
That hard-fought win gave Troy confidence heading into Saturday’s play, and it showed early on in the team’s 10-4 win over Chillicothe as Post 43 jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first inning. Chillicothe got as close as 5-3, but another run in the fifth and then a four-run sixth by the Legends put the game out of reach.
J.R. Young led the way, going 2 for 3 with a three-run home run and five RBIs, while Jake Francis was 2 for 3 with a solo homer and two RBIs. Wargo was 2 for 4, Zach Seagraves doubled and Elliot Seelig and Kendall each had an RBI.
Ian Gengler made all that support stand up on the mound, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in six innings of work, whole Boeke pitched a scoreless seventh to seal the win.
Finally on Saturday, the Legends took on Hillsboro — which had routed them on their own home field 12-4 the previous weekend.
“We all knew we did not play our ‘A’-game that day, but we put the ‘A’-game together in this one,” Brown said.
Seelig and Francis combined to limit the dangerous Hillsboro bats in the game, each pitching three innings with Francis getting the win in relief. Seelig allowed five runs on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts, while Francis allowed one hit, walked four and struck out four and kept Hillsboro scoreless.
Troy jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third, but Hillsboro answered with a five-run bottom half to go up 5-3. The Legends then took the lead with a three-run fifth and scored nine in the sixth to end the game in a run-rule, 15-5.
“We finally put together the offense we’ve believed we are capable of,” Brown said. “We ran the bases very well with eight steals, we bunted very well, taking advantage of their defense, and we had 13 hits. It was a very positive sign.”
Brandon Wilson had a big game, going 3 for 3 with two doubles and five RBIs, Colt Francis was 2 for 2 with two doubles and four RBIs, Kendall drove in a pair of runs, Young was 2 for 4 with an RBI, Wargo was 2 for 5 and Seelig and Kyle Evans each had an RBI.
The Legends will face Sioux Falls on Wednesday to begin the Locker Room CWS Tournament.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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