Sophomore Jake Daniel and senior Noah Roswell save the day for the Troy Trojans, leading to a sweep of Sidney.
Troy – If good things come to those who wait, the Troy Trojans almost waited too long Tuesday at Market Street Field.
Down to their last three outs against a gritty Sidney team, the Trojans rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 7th to grab a 5-4 win and sweep the GWOC North series against the tough-luck Yellowjackets.
Noah Roswell, in just his 7th at-bat of the season, atoned for a 6th inning throwing error that allowed a run with a run-scoring single and Jake Daniel doubled home the tying and winning runs two batters later as Troy improved to 10-7 overall and 4-4 in the GWOC.
“It was good to come back like that,” said a relieved Troy coach Ty Welker. “The guys were excited on the bench, we had good at bats, and got the big hits we needed. The first 6 and a half innings weren’t very positive. We let them hang around and made too many unforced errors in a lot of areas.”
Until the 7th, there wasn’t much good to say about the Trojans day. Sidney scored two runs in the first without hitting the ball out of the infield. Starter Jared Bair hit two batters, there was a passed ball charged to catcher Tyler Lambert, and two errors on a ground ball hit by Damian Duff that should have ended the inning.
“The first inning was a disaster,” said Welker. “They scored two runs and didn’t hit the ball out of the infield. I think maybe after yesterdays’ game (an 11-1 Troy win at Sidney) we took this one for granted. We told the boys you have to be ready to play from the beginning. What you do early means a lot, and you can’t just turn the switch on and off. We just had to fight through it and persevere.”
Troy responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Brandon Emery singled home one run and Austin Barney plated the other on a triple. Barney, however, over-ran third and was thrown out, costing the Trojans a chance for a bigger inning.
Following a 54 minute weather delay, Sidney took the lead with a run in the fourth and extended it with another gift in the 6th. Austin Freisthler walked, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. AJ Brussels then grounded back to the mound, but Roswell, trying to make a play at third, threw the ball into left field allowing Freisthler to score what looked to be an important insurance run.
The Trojans left two runners on in the third and left the bases loaded in the fourth, but had precious few other chances against Sidney right-hander Connor Beer. The junior went to the mound in the 7th protecting that two run lead, but managed to get just one out.
Drake McDonagh opened the inning with a single, but was forced at second by Hayden Kotwica. The Trojan center-fielder stole second, and Emery walked. Roswell followed with his second hit of the season to narrow the gap to 4-3, and then stole second uncontested. Barney was walked intentionally, and Daniel drilled an 0-1 pitch over the head of the right-fielder to win it in dramatic fashion.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play,” Daniel said about his approach in that final at bat. “I knew my team needed me at that time, and I just wanted to put it in play and get a run. It felt good when I hit it, but I thought at first he was going to catch it. It’s definitely a good feeling.”
Roswell pitched three innings in relief of starter Baird and got his first decision of the season. Beer was the hard-luck loser to fall to 2-3. Overall, Sidney is now 6-14 and has dropped 5 straight.
The winning Troy numbers—5 runs, 8 hits, three errors and 7 runners left on. Sidney had 4 runs, 6 hits, three of the infield variety, 1 error and stranded 8.
“This is a good momentum booster for us,” said Daniel, a sophomore. “We haven’t played our best the past couple of weeks, but these wins will really help us going into the rest of the season and tournament.”
“We handled the delay as well as you could,” Welker explained. “I was concerned with Bair being able to go back out and pitch, but he was ok. We just didn’t help him out with our offense. We had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth and didn’t put the ball in play, and that’s not OK. Just little things that we have to keep working on.”
Prior to yesterday’s win, the Trojans had dropped four straight to 15-3 Beavercreek, 17-1 Butler and 12-4 Tippecanoe. After a home game with 17-1 Springboro tomorrow, the Trojans next five games are against Northridge, Fairborn, Wayne and Piqua, all around or under .500.
“I think we have lost one game that we probably should have won,” Welker said in conclusion. “We have lost to good baseball teams. The last four or five years, we have had the mentality that we don’t care who you are, we are going to beat you. We have beaten several teams in the tournament the past several years who were supposedly better than us. We don’t have that mentality yet. Hopefully this upcoming stretch will give us the confidence we need to play those types of teams.”