SIDNEY — Sidney Post 217 Red struggled early this season, but the young team has proven in recent weeks it’s good enough to play with older squads.
The Red had a two-game winning streak broken on Wednesday in an 8-3 loss to Troy Legends at Custenborder Field. The game was called in the bottom of the sixth after lightning forced a second delay in an hour’s time.
Post 217 Red’s roster is made entirely of players who’ve just completed their junior or sophomore seasons. It’s a young group to play a senior Legion schedule — Sidney Post 217 White has 13 players who just completed their senior seasons, in addition to one who graduated in 2020.
But the Red has been competitive. The squad, which fought 5-4 loss in eight innings against Troy Legends on June 22, dropped to 8-11 after Wednesday’s defeat.
“Early in the year when we had some Loramie guys out for state baseball and some Russia guys also join late after they were in the tournament deep, we were struggling to have enough guys to field a team,” said Jackson Hobbs, a 2016 Fort Recovery grad who was an assistant on Post 217’s junior team in 2019 and played for the organization himself while in high school.
“Now that we’ve got everybody here, we’ve been competitive in most games and have won a lot. …We’ve got a bunch of good baseball players and a bunch of competitors that come from good baseball programs and love to go out and fight.”
The team has multiple players from Sidney, Fort Loramie, Russia, and Marion Local and one player each from Minster, Jackson Center and Benjamin Logan.
“We’ve got just about everybody now,” Hobbs said. “We’ve had guys playing basketball, football stuff and on vacations. When we get everybody out here, it’s been a lot of fun. This is a great group to be around.”
Troy scored three runs in the first and added one in the top of the second to take a 4-0 lead but Post 217 Red scored two in the bottom of the second, then one in the third to pull within 4-3. The Legends scored four in the top of the fourth to pull away.
Gavin Roberts started for the Red and pitched three innings. He gave up four earned runs on five hits, four walks and one hit batter. He struck out five batters.
Xavier Philpot pitched 1 1/3 inning and gave up three earned runs on three hits and one hit batter. He struck out three. Taran Fleckenstein pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings and gave up one walk while striking out two.
Fleckenstein and Derek Meyer were each 2 for 2 at the plate while Gabriel Link was 1 for 1. The squad had six hits while Troy had eight.
Conner Carver and Levi Polen combined on the pitching effort for the Legends. Carver pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up three hits while striking out one batter, walking one and hitting one. Polen pitched three innings and gave up three hits while striking out two.
Troy got to work quickly in the first against Roberts. Noah McEldowney hit the first pitch of the game to center field for a single, then Jonny Baileys hit a hard grounder to right field for a single on the second pitch.
Darius Boeke hit a sacrifice bunt to move the runners, then Tucker Miller walked to load the bases. McEldowney scored on a passed ball while Garrett LeMaster was at the plate. LeMaster hit an RBI ground out to increase the lead to 2-0.
Aidan Heffner and Nick Garber each drew walks, then Keith Orndorff hit an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0.
In the second inning, Nathan Woolley started the inning by drawing a walk. He moved to second two batters later when Baileys hit a single to right field, then to third on a passed ball when Boeke was at the plate.
Boeke reached on a dripped third strike, and Woolley raced home on the play to push the lead to 4-0.
The Red got going in the second.
John Davidson reached on an error with one out, then Roberts hit a grounder toward Carver. Carver sent a throw by Heffner at first base, and Davidson raced around and scored on the error.
Fleckenstein then hit an RBI single to shallow right field to cut the gap to 4-3.
Sidney Post 217 Red cut the lead to 4-3 in the third when Carson Regula reached on an error with one out, stole second and scored when Xavier Philpot hit an RBI single to center.
But the Legends pulled away with four runs in the fourth.
McEldowney led off with a single and scored when Baileys followed with a triple to center field. Boeke followed with an RBI single to center to push the lead to 6-3. Boeke moved to third on a passed ball, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Miller.
Garrett LeMaster reached second base on an error and moved to third on a passed ball. He scored when Heffner reached on a dropped third strike.
The game was stopped for 30 minutes for a lightning delay with one out in the top of the fifth. The game resumed, but when a second lightning delay came with two outs in the sixth inning, it was called.