By Rob Kiser
Piqua American Legion Post 184 ace Cameron Gordon has a simple philosophy.
Just give him the ball. Something Piqua Post 184 coach Justin Jennings has never hesitated to do.
After pitching the first four innings of Piqua’s 16-4 win over Greenville Thursday night, Gordon got the ball again Sunday afternoon. And while Sidney Post 217 made him work for it, Gordon went all nine innings in a 5-4 Piqua win at Hardman Field on the third try, after rainouts on Friday and Saturday night.
Piqua will now need to beat Troy Post 43 twice to win the district title, with the first game tonight at 7 p.m. at Hardman Field. Sidney’s season comes to an end.
Gordon had breezed through the first five innings, taking a 3-0 lead to the home sixth when Sidney turned the game around.
Josh Koppin, Jace Barga, Cole Proffitt and Cameron Jenkins all had hits for Sidney in the inning, tying the game at three. But, with first and third and one out, Piqua turned its third double play of the game. On a ground ball back to Gordon, he caught the runner on third in a rundown for the second out. The batter then broke for second and got caught in a rundown. The runner who started the play on first, broke home from third, but fell and was unable to score before Piqua tagged the runner out between first and second to end the inning.
Sidney added three more hits in the seventh, a double by Kyle Subler and singles by Koppin and Barga to take a 4-3 lead, but Gordon was again helped by Sidney having a runner thrown out trying to take an extra base.
Piqua, the visitors, responded in the top of the eighth. After Travis Smith was hit by a pitch and Austin Arnold doubled to put runners on second and third with one out, Jesse Wilson delivered a two-run single.
It swung the momentum for good, making it 5-4. And Sidney never had a baserunner in its final two at bats, as Gordon retired the final seven Post 217 hitters.
Early on, it was Piqua being opportunistic.
In the first, Noah Gertner drew a one-out walk and scored on a double. In the third, a two-out error led to an RBI single by Arnold and in the fifth a two-out error was followed by a double by Andrew Lundvall to make it 3-0, before Sidney rallied to set up Piqua’s comeback.
Owen Leugers pitched in to the eighth inning and combined with Braden Goodwin on an eight-hitter for Sidney.
Barga had three hits for Sidney and Koppin added two.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.