SIDNEY — After falling in holes early in games in the Miami Valley Veterans Tournament over the weekend, Sidney Post 217 got its balance early on Tuesday at Custenborder Field and never lost it in a game against Troy Post 43.
Sidney Post 217 scored four runs in the first inning and got out of several dangerous situations the rest of the way in a 4-3 win over Troy Post 43, which left nine runners on base.
“I’ve been stressing to the guys that we’ve got to get off to a good start,” Post 217 coach Daulton Mosbarger said. “We’ve been kind of putting ourselves into a little bit of a hole the past few weeks. It’s a lot easier when you come out and you put the pressure on them. That’s exactly what we did in the first inning.”
Post 217 (6-7) lost three of four games in the Veterans Tournament last weekend, which was at Duke Park in Troy. Mosbarger said the team had chances in most of its games but couldn’t put together a rally.
The squad almost let an opportunity slip away on Tuesday but came up with a couple of two-out hits to take control.
Post 43 took a 1-0 lead after an RBI double by starting pitcher Brandon Wilson off the left-field fence in the first.
Austin McClain grounded out to lead off the bottom of the first for Sidney Post 217 but Zach Griesdorn followed with a single to shallow right field. Griesdorn was picked off trying to steal second, though.
The pickoff didn’t stop Post 217’s momentum at the plate. Hunter Cohee drew a walk and Kyle Noble hit a double that bounced off the right-field fence to put runners on third and second.
With Caleb Harris at the plate, Wilson was called for a balk, which allowed Cohee to score from third. Harris then hit a single to shallow right field to score Noble and put Post 217 up 2-1.
Wilson then walked Austin Shinabery, and Evan Monnier followed with a two-run double to left field to extend the lead to 4-1.
“We couldn’t get off to the start we wanted last weekend, but we played a lot better as it went on, and I think they took the lesson from it,” Mosbarger said. “It makes things a lot easier when you get up early.”
Troy Post 43 (7-4) had plenty of other chances through the game but left six runners in scoring position on base, including bases loaded in the second. It was the squad’s first game since last Thursday.
“All the days off due to the rain has hurt us,” longtime Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said. “I’ve told the kids this before, but when we don’t play, our hitting drops off, and when we play, our hitting comes back. …We had all kinds of opportunities, but we just couldn’t swing that bat well.”
Post 43 had 12 strikeouts against Sidney Post 217 starter Jack Dapore and McClain, who pitched the last three innings in relief.
Dapore, who graduated from Russia last month, allowed three earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts. McClain, a Sidney alumnus who plays at Edison State, allowed one hit and had six strikeouts. Both walked three batters apiece.
“He (Dapore) was gone the past week and is just getting back into it,” Mosbarger said. “He responded really well for us. He didn’t start that many games for (Russia) last spring, but he gave us a quality start.
“… That’s the second time (Austin) has come in at the end of the game and shut the other team down. He’s got that mentality you want and the look in the eye you want from a guy coming on in pressure situations. I’m glad I have one of those guys there at the back of the pen.”
Post 217 had seven hits and two errors while Troy Post 43 had six hits and no errors.
Brown credited Dapore and McClain with the pitching effort but said Post 43 could have had less strikeouts with more patience.
“If 12 out of 21 outs are caught by the catcher, they didn’t have to play defense,” Brown said. “If we’d have made them play some more defense, who knows. Just a hit somewhere or a ground ball somewhere; that’s all it would have taken.
“… We’ve got to change some things. But we’ve got a great group of guys. It’s not the guys.”
After Sidney Post 217 took the lead in the first, Troy Post 43 loaded the bases in the top of the second after an error, a hit batter and a walk. Dapore struck out Austin Kendall to end the inning.
Keaton Mohler and Wilson led off Post 43 with outfield singles in the third, but Dapore struck out the next three batters.
“That’s a recipe for disaster,” Brown said of the third inning strikeouts.
Troy Post 43 pulled close in the fourth. Perry Casto reached on an error with one out and then reached second on a passed ball. Noah Brown walked, and Mohler hit a single to right field to score Casto and Brown. The last two batters hit into routine outs.
Post 43 switched Wilson for Chase Weaver on the mound in the fourth. Weaver retired Post 217 in order in the fourth but had to work out of a jam in the fifth.
Cohee hit a one-out double, then Weaver walked Noble and Harris to load the bases. Shinabery then struck out and Monnier flied out to fight field to end the inning.
The teams had one hit each in the last 1 1/2 innings. Frank Gmuca walked to start the seventh, but Jacob Duncan hit into a ground out and Ian Yunker and Austin Kloeker struck out to end the game.
Wilson allowed four earned runs in three innings on five hits and had two strikeouts. Weaver allowed two hits in two innings and had two strikeouts. Duncan pitched in the sixth for Post 43 and didn’t allow a hit while striking out one.
“They didn’t do too bad,” Brown said of Post 43’s pitchers. “Wilson probably wasn’t at his best but he got better (after the first). Weaver came in and did a good job, and (Duncan) is our best closer, and he came in and got the job done and got us out of the game.”
Mohler was 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs while Wilson was 2 for 4 with 1 RBI.
Darrin Hoying, Cohee, Noble and Monnier doubled for Sidney.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.