By David Wysong
During a rare night where the rain held off, Piqua Post 184 and Sidney Post 217 faced off in a summer legion baseball game at Hardman Field in Piqua.
Piqua attacked their opponent early on Tuesday night by scoring four runs in the first three innings. Sidney never even got the opportunity to fight back in the game due to the dominant starting pitching performance from Piqua sophomore Travis Smith. Smith pitched a nine inning shutout to lead Piqua to a 5-0 victory.
“My pitcher threw really well, he threw 111 pitches and after the second inning they didn’t even really get to second base,” Piqua’s coach Justin Jennings said about Smith’s performance. “He’s only a sophomore ─ he is going to be a junior ─ and he has a really bright future.”
After Smith worked threw some early hits by Sidney in the first inning, he improved as the game went on. He sat down Sidney in order four times during the game, the last time being in the ninth inning to clinch the win.
The opposition’s starting pitcher did not have quite the same success. Sidney’s junior starting pitcher Owen Leugers struggled early. He gave up one run in the second inning by allowing Travis Smith to reach second on a double, and then to later score on a failed pickoff attempt by senior catcher Cameron Jenkins.
Leugers then gave up three runs in the third inning. Piqua’s junior right fielder Derrick Gullett produced the first run of the inning with an RBI single to make the score 2-0. Then Piqua’s senior second baseman Austin Arnold had a sacrifice fly ─ after sophomore left fielder Jesie Wilson reached home on a pass ball ─ to increase Piqua’s lead to 4-0.
In the fourth inning Sidney brought junior pitcher Bryant McCarty in for relief. McCarty was the one bright spot in the game for Sidney. He pitched six innings and only gave up one run on in the seventh inning.
Sidney’s coach Jim Koewler was very pleased with the way McCarty came in and performed.
“Bryant McCarty has done a great job for me all summer long,” Koewler said. “I can’t speak enough about him, he’s a great kid and does what he is asked to do…you can’t ask for any more than that.”
The lack of production offensively lead to Sidney being shutout in the 5-0 loss. The team did not have a runner in scoring position after the third inning.
“We have to come ready to play,” Koewler said. “We have stressed all summer long about being aggressive at the plate, if that first pitch is a fast ball we need to hack at it…I don’t know why but we’re not doing that.”
On the other side Piqua could not be more proud of the way that they performed offensively. They attacked Sidney early by getting a 4 run lead, then increased that lead in the seventh inning on a RBI fielder’s choice by senior centerfielder Noah Gertner.
“That is something we have been really trying to approach as a team,” said Jennings about the team producing early. “That is how you play baseball, you have to start off from the beginning. When you attack someone and get up on them early it is a little harder for them to come back.”
Piqua begins play in the Hoosier Wooden Bat tournament Thursday in Plymouth, Ind.
Sidney Post 217 plays Greenville in Sidney on Wednesday at 6:30 and district tournaments begin for both teams on July 16.
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