By Josh Brown
TROY — The Sidney Post 217 legion baseball team took a pair of leads, but could not hold on to either of them in a loss to the Troy Post 43 Legends Wednesday at Duke Park.
Even after Sidney Post 217 took the lead in the first and retook it in the third, the Legends maintained constant pressure throughout the game, taking the lead for good in the fourth and scoring in every inning except the sixth, while starter Troy Powers just got stronger and stronger as the game went on as Troy Post 43 put away a 7-4 victory over Sidney — something of a rarity for the team over the past three seasons.
Troy Post 43 — which went 1-4 over the weekend at the Locker Room College World Series Tournament in Omaha — improved to 12-10 overall and 4-3 in the Western Ohio League, while Sidney fell to 12-12 and 3-2 in WOL play. Sidney had run through WOL play undefeated two seasons in a row, as well as qualifying for back-to-back state legion tournaments, and already boasted a 4-3 win over the Legends earlier this season in Sidney.
In the end, keeping the potent Sidney lineup off the scoreboard proved to be the difference for Troy.
Powers had a rough start to the game as Austin McClain drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Hunter Cohee to give Post 217 a 1-0 lead. Noah Richard followed with a single to put two on, but Powers got out of the inning without any further damage.
Troy answered in the bottom of the inning, too, with Noah Brown leading off with a single, stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch and eventually scoring on an RBI single by Andy Wargo. And in the bottom of the second, Austin Kendall tripled to lead off the inning and Frank Gmuca laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to drive him in and give the Legends a 2-1 lead.
In the third, though, Sidney cashed in a couple of Post 43 miscues to retake the lead. Deion Puthoff singled to lead off and Cohee was hit by a pitch, then a groundout and a stolen base by Richard put runners on second and third with one out. Powers got a strikeout and looked poised to get out of the jam, but Evan Monnier hit a blooper to right that the fielder overran on the ground for a two-run double, and a dropped fly ball off the bat of Jarod Seigle brought in another run to make it 4-2 Sidney.
From there, though, Powers was in total control, allowing only one baserunner on a walk over the next four innings. He finished the game allowing four hits, walking two and hitting a batter while striking out seven.
And offensively, the Legends continued to find ways to score.
A two-out RBI single by Brandon Wilson in the bottom of the third cut the lead to 4-3, then Troy loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. Gmuca was hit by the first pitch he saw to bring home one run, then pinch hitter Ian Yunker hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center to give the lead back to Post 43 at 5-4.
And in the sixth, the Legends added a pair of insurance runs. After two walks put runners on the corners with one out, Jacob Duncan drove an RBI single to right. A single by Perry Casto loaded the bases, and Gmuca drew an RBI walk to make the score 7-4 — which proved to be plenty of support for Powers.
For Sidney, Monnier had a double and two RBIs, Cohee had a hit and an RBI and Puthoff and Richard each had a hit. Cohee took the loss, allowing seven runs on seven hits, five walks and a hit batter while striking out one in 4 1-3 innings of work, with McClain finishing the final 1 2-3 innings striking out two and allowing two hits.
After a day off Thursday, Troy Post 43 heads to Lancaster for the Lancaster Post 11 Classic tournament. Sidney Post 217, meanwhile, will begin play in the Don Coss Tournament Friday in Cambridge.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.