SIDNEY — After giving up two early hits and finding himself in a one-run deficit, Sidney Post 217 pitcher Tyler Louden kept Troy Post 43’s bats quiet through the rest of an American Legion regional tournament game on Tuesday at Custenborder Field.
Sidney rallied with one run in the second, two in the fifth and one in the seventh to earn a 4-1 win and eliminate Troy from the Region 2 tournament.
Post 217 advanced to face Van Wert Post 178 in a game on Wednesday night. If Sidney won Wednesday, the squads will meet again on Thursday for a decisive championship game.
After Troy had two hits in the first two innings, the squad had one baserunner in the last five innings. Louden, a West Liberty-Salem graduate who now plays at Otterbein, allowed two hits in six innings and struck out seven batters with one walk.
“He does a great job of throwing inside,” Sidney Post 217 coach Daulton Mosbarger said. “A lot of kids his age struggle with that and are kind of intimidated to do that. He really does a good job with that, and you could tell tonight, he really had that pitch working and was keeping those guys off balance.”
Keaton Mohler hit a one-out single to left field in the first and scored after a wild pitch, sacrifice ground out and passed ball to put Post 43 up 1-0. After Sidney tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Andy Wargo hit a double to center field. Troy’s last two batters in the second struck out — a prelude to their struggles at the plate the rest of the way.
“This kid, he’s got good stuff,” Troy Post 43 coach Frosty Brown said of Louden. “His two-seam fastball, we were having trouble getting pieces of that. We did pop up and do things like that, but pretty harmless stuff.”
Kyle Noble reached on an error and Zach Griesdorn hit a single to left field for Post 217 in the second. Bryce Kennedy then hit a grounder to Troy starting pitcher Jacob Arthur, who sent a throw over third base and into foul territory in left field. Though both Noble and Griesdorn came around to score, Griesdorn was called out on appeal for not touching third base.
“That was something we had to move past, and we eventually broke through,” Mosbarger said.
Sidney stranded three runners in the second and had one hit over the next two innings. Post 217 broke the 1-1 tie in the fifth, though.
Jack Dapore led off the fifth with a walk for Sidney and Dion Puthoff hit an infield single two batters later. Hunter Cohee then hit a one-run single on a ground ball to left field in the fifth to put Sidney up 2-1.
Troy removed Arthur and put on Chase Weaver in relief. After a ground out, Griesdorn hit a grounder nearly identical to Cohee’s that scored a run and put Sidney up 3-1.
Puthoff added a run for Post 217 in the seventh. After he reached on a fielder’s choice, he stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a passed ball.
Sidney brought in Austin McClain to pitch in the seventh, and he retired Troy in order, including a game-ending strikeout of Frank Gmuca.
“We knew there were going to have to be some runs put on the board, but it was just one of those games,” Brown said. “I congratulate Sidney on getting to the finals and (Louden) for doing a good job.”
Griesdorn was 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and Puthoff was 2 for 3 for Sidney with four stolen bases and two runs.
Mosbarger credited Puthoff’s baserunning efforts for helping to spark Sidney’s offense.
“Anytime he puts the ball in play somewhere, he’s got a chance to get on the base,” Mosbarger said. “He’s got the green light from me — I don’t even have to give him the steal sign. As long as he gets a good jump, he’s good to go. He did a good job of making things happen.”
Post 217 finished with seven hits, and Mosbarger gave the team credit for adjusting as the game went on.
“After seeing (Arthur) a couple times through the order, we got a feel for what he’s got,” Mosbarger said. “Our guys knew he had a pretty good curve ball, and they were sitting back a little bit. (Arthur) did a pretty good job until that (fifth) inning of keeping us off balance, but our guys did a pretty good job of making the adjustments when they needed to.”
To earn its third consecutive state tournament berth, Post 217 needed to beat Van Wert Post 178 Wednesday to force a championship game Thursday at Custenborder. The Region 2 tournament is double elimination, and Van Wert entered Wednesday’s game undefeated. Post 178 beat Sidney 6-2 on Monday.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.