Fort Loramie took advantage of Triad mistakes to pull away for a 7-4 win in the Sectional Final in Piqua on Wednesday.
By Ben Robinson
PIQUA – With just two seniors and one junior on the roster, Bill Sturwold’s Fort Loramie Redskins are mature beyond their years.
This was never more evident than Wednesday’s come-from-behind 7-4 win over Triad in the Sectional Final in Piqua – where Fort Loramie was held without a run through four innings and had suffered several bad breaks along the way.
“This game (Baseball) is a roller coaster ride and you have to be able to keep your composure through the good and the bad,” Sturwold said. “We talk to the kids all the time about damage control – not letting a one-run inning turn into a two or three-run inning. We made some mistakes, but these kids know how to hit the reset button when something goes bad.”
“THE BAD” started in the top of the first as the Redskins couldn’t cash in on back-to-back base hits by Eli Rosengarten and Daniel Burning.
Then, in the bottom of the third Triad turned an infield hit into the first run of the game – all without hitting the ball out of the infield.
“MORE BAD” happened in the top of the fourth as Burning connected on a single and then was thrown out at second while attempting to steal. The next two batters lined out and struck out leaving the Redskins trailing 1-0 with Triad coming to the plate in the bottom half of the inning.
But as bad as things were going for Fort Loramie, it was still within striking distance against one of the premier pitchers in the area – Triad’s Shane Ford.
“He beat us last year,” Sturwold said of Ford. “He’s tough out there. He makes it hard to string things together.”
After Redskin pitcher Jared Middendorf shut down the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the inning, Loramie finally broke through in the top of the fifth with three runs.
Middendorf helped out his cause with a lead-off single and a sac bunt followed. Ben Barhorst then connected on a two-out single and Dylan Albers reached on an error that scored Mason Kemper, who was inserted as the pinch runner for Middendorf.
Triad then helped out Fort Loramie’s cause by attempting to gun down Albers, who was stealing second. The throw was off the mark and ended up in the outfield, which allowed Barhorst to score from third.
The final run of the inning came on an RBI single by Eli Rosengarten, who wrapped a base hit up the middle to score Albers.
“Middendorf got us going with a nice hit up the middle and we were able to get some bunts down,” explained Sturwold. “We were able to take advantage of some mistakes and gain some momentum.”
Triad responded in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of doubles that resulted in a run, but Fort Loramie was able to build on its momentum in the top of the sixth.
Singles by Carter Siegel and C.J. Billing started off the inning and Middendorf once again helped himself out at the plate with a two-run double.
“He pitched a nice game and had some big hits for us tonight,” continued Sturwold in his assessment of Middendorf’s performance. “The double up the middle in the sixth was big because it was a response to the run they scored to cut to one.”
With no outs, a sacrifice bunt moved Middendorf to third and Shane Hilgefort connected on a long fly ball to left to plate the final run of the inning.
But Triad wasn’t about to relent as it scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to force Sturwold to make a pitching change with one out. Rosengarten came in and recorded the two outs needed to prevent further damage as the Redskins went to bat in the top of the seventh leading 6-4.
And the Redksins were able to take advantage of what was given to them by the Triad defense to give themselves a little extra cushion on the scoreboard.
Dylan Albers led off with a walk and Eli Rosengartern was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no outs.
Two batters latter Carter Siegel reached on an error to score Rosengarten for a 7-4 lead.
Triad led of the bottom of the seventh with single and stole second, but C.J. Billing made a diving catch at third for the first out. The next Triad batter grounded out to short and the final out came on a fly ball in center.
“This was a good win, a win we had to grind out,” Sturwold said. “The bottom of our order came up big for us today and we made some nice plays in the field. This was a really good team we beat today.”
And another good team awaits as Fort Loramie is slated to play Southeastern on Friday at Newton High School.
“That will be another stiff test,” said Sturwold of Southeastern. “They have a kid who is going to be playing at Wright State next year and they shut out Tri-Village tonight. We’ll have to be ready to go.”
If Wednesday’s any indication, the Redskins will be up to any challenge thrown their way – the good and the bad.