By Josh Brown
LANCASTER — In an inter-division game on Saturday at the Lancaster Post 11 Fourth of July Classic, Troy Post 43 was thumped by Steubenville Legion, 15-6.
It got a chance at payback the next day, though — and Post 43 made good on it.
Troy (24-8) earned the No. 2 seed in division I at the tournament, topping Pickerington Legion 5-1 on Sunday to earn a berth in the title game against Steubenville. Post 43 jumped out on top early and got solid pitching and defense throughout, defeating Steubenville 3-2 to win the tournament championship.
“This was a great tournament for a lot of our guys,” Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said. “Trenton Wood was named tournament MVP, but I could make the case for fellows like Michael Hale, Cody Harsman, Greg Peffley, Michael Cookson, Chris Heisey and Greg Johnson. I’m proud of this whole team.
“We were in the championship game in the Veterans Memorial Tournament, and we were rained out of the final round at the Bob Cene Memorial in Youngstown. This weekend, we took the next step.”
Wood kicked off Sunday’s championship round in the semifinal by scattering four Pickerington hits and striking out five to get the win.
“Pickerington is a very strong team and a very successful program,” Brown said. “They beat us in the state finals in 2012, but we had a three-game winning streak going for us, and I knew this would be a big game. Trenton stayed ahead in the count and had them chasing his off-speed stuff.”
With the score tied 1-1 in the top of the fourth, Troy took the lead for good on a two-out RBI single by Brandon Nesbitt. Then Wood doubled to lead off the fifth and scored on an RBI single by Johnson, and Johnson came around to score on a bloop single by Jackson Ford to make it a 4-1 game. Harsman added an RBI single in the sixth, and Post 43 moved on to face Steubenville for the title.
Heisey, who pitched a solid game earlier in the tournament, got the call and started slow but settled down as Steubenville held just a 2-0 lead through five and a half innings.
“Chris is one of the most competitive pitchers in the Dayton area,” Brown said. “After Nick Petrifies hit a two-run double early on, Chris just seemed to reach back. He struggled with his control early but turned it around in the third. His fastball suddenly looked three or four MPH faster, and his control was back. He struck out the side and settled in to throw a scoreless fourth, fifth and sixth.”
And in the bottom of the sixth, Wood again kicked off a rally by lining a rocket off the wall in left. Wood scored on an RBI single by Harsman, and Zach Kirby hit an RBI sac fly to the second baseman, scoring Harsman on a shallow looper as the fielder’s momentum carried him into the outfield to tie the score at 2-2. And with two outs, Peffley lashed a double into left that scored the eventual winning run, making it 3-2.
Cookson came on in relief to earn his third save of the tournament by pitching a scoreless seventh.
Troy Post 43 was scheduled to host Piqua Post 184 Tuesday in a game that was not complete at time of press, but rain in the area threatened to cancel the game.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.