By Rob Kiser
Piqua senior Travis Smith turned in a big performance Tuesday night at Hardman Field — with plenty of help from his teammates — and the Indians baseball team was able to break into the win column with a 6-1 victory over Wapakoneta.
“It is always good to get in the win column,” Piqua baseball coach Brad Lavey said. “It was a great team effort. A lot of guys hit the ball and Travis (Smith) was out there dealing on the mound.”
In fact, it was Smith who got the scoring started for Piqua.
He hit a two-our home run in the first inning over the leftfield fence, as the Piqua bench and fans erupted.
“I didn’t know it was out at all,” Smith said. “I was going hard trying to get to three (third base for a triple). I almost fell down. I looked up and it was over the fence. It was just a great effort by the team.”
Piqua made it 2-0 in the fourth.
Derek Hite had singled and was on third with one out after Logan Harris’ fielder’s choice.
Mick Karn drilled a shot into rightfield to score Hite.
“We had first and third and the first baseman was pulled in,” Lavey said. “Mick (Karn) did a great job going the opposite way and hitting it past the first baseman. It was a nice at bat.”
Piqua would then break the game open with four runs in the fifth — with Smith delivering the biggest hit.
Owen Toopes started things with a single.
After Cory Cottrell walked and Ethan Garland was hit by a pitch, Smith came to the plate.
He drilled a two-run single to make it 4-0.
“Travis (Smith) stepped up and had a big hit with the bases loaded,” Lavey said. “But, all the kids did a nice job at the plate.”
With one out, walks to Blake Wright and Harris forced in a run and Karn’s fielder’s choice made it 6-0.
At the same time, Smith was command on the mound.
He pitched a four-hitter, striking our four, walking three and hitting two batters.
“Really, I think the whole team felt confident from the start,” Smith said. “They had my back out there.”
In both the third and fourth innings, the Piqua defense did exactly that, turning double plays to keep Wapak off the board.
In the third, Wapak had a runner on first with one out, when Piqua got an inning-ending double plays from shortstop Toopes to second baseman Spencer Lavey to Hite at first.
With a runner on first and no out in the fourth, third baseman Wright snagged a line drive and threw to Hite at first to double the runner off.
“The first one when 6-4-3 and the second went 5-3,” Brad Lavey said. “Everything about those plays was fundamentally sound. But, our defense has been good all year.”
Smith took a shutout into the seventh inning, before Wapak used two walks and two fielder’s choices to score a run.
The Indians were coming off a 10-4 loss to Fairmont Monday.
In that game, Garland was 2-for-3 with a double.
Piqua, 1-2, will now travel to Wayne Thursday, Trotwood-Madison Friday and host Tecumseh in a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon.
“It was huge for the team to just not let Wapak come back on us tonight,” Smith said. “Definitely it was big to get a win.”
Which the Indians hope to build on.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.