By David Fong
TROY — A stellar performance on the mound by Josh Nixon — coupled with some timely hitting — was enough to power the Sidney Post 217 legion baseball team to a 6-1 win over Troy Post 43 in the district tournament Wednesday at Duke Park.
The win puts Sidney in Saturday’s championship game, where it will meet the winner of Friday’s Troy Post 43 vs. Piqua Post 184 consolation game. A win Saturday would earn Sidney a spot in the state legion tournament. Should Sidney lose on Saturday, it would set up a winner-takes-all game Sunday at Duke Park. The scheduled was changed due to a rainout Thursday night between Piqua and Troy.
“Who ever it is has to beat us twice,” Sidney coach Jim Koewler said. “My guys and myself like our chances of moving forward. They are not over confident, but they are realizing we are one win away from the state tournament. It was good to see the big fan support we had last night and hopefully it will only grow for Friday night’s game.”
Nixon went the distance on the mound for Sidney, striking out 11, walking just one and scattering five hits.
“Josh Nixon pitched a lights-out complete game for us, which was also a big boost as we did not have to use extra pitchers,” Koewler said. “He threw 110 pitches for the game. This is a big deal since we had the pitch count implemented this year. We are in good real shape as far as pitching goes for the rest of the tournament.”
Sidney took advantage of Troy miscues to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Austin McLain reached on an error and advanced on a passed ball. Maddux Liles then also reached on an error, which allowed McClain to score.
Post 217 would extend its lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Keeton McEldowney led off with a triple and scored on Kyle Subler’s single. Sidney would add another run in the fourth when Daniel Berning walked, moved to second on Deion Puthoff’s sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a wild pitch.
Leading 3-0 in the fifth, Sidney scored again when Subler led off with a triple and scored on Kyle Noble’s perfectly executed squeeze bunt. In the sixth, Post 217 would extend its lead to 5-0 when Dylan Albers singled, moved to second on McLain’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Subler’s single.
After Troy scored in the seventh to cut Sidney’s lead to 5-1, Post 217 got that run back in the eighth when Austin Knapke doubled, then McEldowney drove him in with a two-out double.
“They key to us winning was that we scored in six of the nine innings,” Koewler said. “We didn’t score in bunches, but when you keep tacking on runs as we did, it’s a big momentum booster.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong