By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
OMAHA, Neb. — The Troy Post 43 Legends spent the weekend in Omaha taking in a few College World Series games, as well as competing in the Locker Room CWS Tournament.
The Legends had some issues getting their offense going, though, beginning the tournament with back-to-back victories but finishing 2-3 in the week-long tournament from Wednesday through Saturday.
Troy (9-12-1) began the tournament with those same offensive problems, but stellar pitching by Warren Hartzell and Ian Yunker made them a bit less painful in a 1-0 shutout victory over Sioux Falls, Iowa.
Hartzell started the game and went four innings, striking out three, walking two and allowing only one hit, while Yunker allowed two hits and a walk and struck out six as the duo combined on a three-hit shutout.
Post 43 only managed four hits itself, but it managed to scratch together the only run it would need in the second inning. Elliot Seelig singled and Jacob Francis doubled, and an error loaded the bases for Noah Brown, who hit an RBI single to drive in the game’s only run — and Hartzell and Yunker made it stand up.
“The idea was that with the very tough Millard South and Fargo facing us Friday and Saturday, we might need to bring both pitchers back,” Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said.
Thursday, the Legends put together their biggest offensive showing of the tournament, routing Branson, Mo., 15-4.
J.R. Young hit his second grand slam of the season, Kyle Evans and Andy Wargo each had two hits and Francis, Yunker and Brandon Wilson each doubled in the game.
Ian Gengler started the game, striking out three in two innings. Ben Spangler entered in the third, and he scattered five hits and struck out three in two innings of work. Francis finished the game, striking out two as the Legends closed out the run-rule win.
Friday, the going got a bit tougher for Troy as it kicked off a pair of games against Millard South, which defeated Post 43 2-1.
“Friday, we faced Millard South — Omaha’s best team — and lost a heartbreaker behind a good pitching performance by Ian Yunker,” Brown said. “The sign of a great pitcher is when you can adapt when you realize your best stuff is missing. Ian utilized his changeup more than usual to stymie Millard South, holding them to only five hits — one of which was a two-out bad-bounce single that went over the first baseman’s head. But that bad bounce cost us the game, as both of their runs scored on it.”
Post 43, meanwhile, couldn’t find ways to push runners across despite a number of threats.
“We played solid defense, but we left the bases loaded twice for a total of 11 runners stranded,” Brown said.
Troy capped off Friday’s play with a 6-0 loss at the hands of Elkhorn, Neb. Seelig took the loss on the mound as Elkhorn struck out eight Legends hitters.
“Again, we stranded runners and had opportunities,” Brown said.
And Saturday, Post 43 dropped its third straight and was shut out for the second straight time, falling to Fargo, N.D., 5-0.
“Saturday, we faced the strongest team of the pool,” Brown said. “I had really good pitching charts on their hitters, who are tremendous fastball hitters. We had to pitch them smart and utilize our off-speed stuff or we were in trouble. And we also had to adapt because our scheduled starter was scratched due to shoulder stiffness.”
Hartzell and Spangler did a solid job against a tough lineup, but the Legends simply couldn’t put anything together themselves.
“Ben did a terrific job coming in in the second and holding the best team in North Dakota to just four hits through the fifth,” Brown said. “Fargo — which scored double digits on every other team — beat us 5-0.
“Our trip was fun. The junior team defeated Moline, Ill., 8-0 and lost to Omaha West Side 12-4. We also all had the opportunity to attend several College World Series games.”
Troy Post 43 travels to Sidney Tuesday and Piqua Wednesday for a pair of league games on the road before beginning play in another weekend tournament, the Lancaster Post 11 Classic. The Legends take on Utica and Lancaster on Thursday and Cambridge on Friday.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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