By Rob Kiser
The Piqua Post 184 American Legion baseball teams path to the July 4 tournament title (see accompanying story) was paved with a 3-0 record in round robin play.
That was capped by a 10-7 win over Springfield Armoloy Sunday night.
After leading 5-2 early in the game, Post 184 rallied with a four-run sixth inning to erase a 7-6 deficit.
Howie Ludwig had a one-out single to start the rally and stole second. After a walk to Michael Ashcraft, winning pitcher Josh Osterholt had a seeing-eye single up the middle, with Ludwig hustling around to tie the game.
After a walk to Joe McGillivary loaded the bases and Spencer Lavey pinch-ran for him, Post 184 shortstop Dylan Arnold delivered the game-winning hit.
Arnold drilled a bases-clearing triple to left-center field to make it 10-7.
“We really had some great situational hitting throughout the tournament,” Post 184 coach Justin Jennings said. “We know with Armoloy, it is going to be a tough game. We win one, then they win one. We are probably about .500 against them.”
Osterholt, who battled for six-plus innings to scatter eight hits, got the first out in the seventh, before Austin Arnold relieved him to get the final two outs for the save.
The game had started out with Piqua pounding 12 hits in the first four innings.
In the first, following a Dylan Arnold single and walk to Will Eversole, Travis Smith smashed a two-run triple.
When the throw home got past the catcher, Smith hustled home to make it 3-1.
Armoloy scored another run in the second to make it 3-2, before Piqua added two more runs.
A walk to McGillivary and single by Dylan Arnold put two runners on again.
Lavey, pinch-running, scored on Eversole’s fielder’s choice and Smith had a RBI single to score Arnold and make it 5-2.
It was still 5-2 when Armoloy hit a towering three-run homer off the scoreboard in fourth to tie it.
Piqua took the lead back in the home fourth on a walk to Logan Harris and singles by Ludwig and Ashcraft to make it 6-5.
But, Armoloy scored two runs in the sixth to take a 7-6 lead, before Osterholt’s game-tying hit and Dylan Arnold’s game-winning hit in the home sixth.
On Saturday night Piqua Post 184 outlasted Greenville Post 140 9-8 in nine innings.
Against Greenville, Piqua saw leads of 4-0, 6-3 and 8-5 get away, before holding on for the win in the home ninth.
Howie Ludwig drew a leadoff walk and with one out, stole second, then stole third, with the throwing going into the outfield and Ludwig crossing the plate to give Piqua a 9-8 win.
“We had some great baserunning throughout the tournament and didn’t have a lot of guys throwing out,” Jennings said. “The Greenville game was chippy. It is always going to be a tough game when we play them.”
Larkin Painter pitched four innings in relief to get the win, shutting Greenville out over the final three innings.
Piqua got two big defensive plays, both ending with Will Eversole tags for outs at third base.
The first came in the fifth inning with the bases loaded after four walks had closed Greenville to within 8-6 with two outs, when catcher Ludwig threw a strike to Eversole to pick off a runner to end the inning.
In the eighth with one out and a runner on first, Painter’s pickoff throw was high and got by Travis Smith at first. But, Smith chased the throw down and threw a strike to Eversole at third to cut down the potential winning run.
Piqua had jumped out to a 4-0 led in the first inning.
Smith had a RBI double, Logan Harris had a RBI single and Austin Arnold had a two-run double.
Former Piqua shortstop Alyssa Jones had a bases-loaded RBI single for Greenville in the third as Post 140 closed to within 4-3.
Piqua got two runs in the home third to make it 6-3, when Ashcraft and Lefeld both had RBI singles.
After Greenville closed within 6-5 in the top of the fourth, Piqua scored two more runs to make it 8-5.
Dylan Arnold led things off with a triple and scored on Eversole’s sacrifice fly. Smith walked and came around to score on Ludwig’s RBI single.
But, Greenville got one run in the fifth and two in the sixth to tie it, before a wild game would end with Ludwig hustling around the bases.
Arnold blanks Three Oaks
Austin Arnold pitched a four-hit shutout for Piqua against Three Oaks in a 6-0 win to open the tournament, striking out one, hitting a batter and walking a batter.
“Austin (Arnold) did a nice job,” Jennings said. “Three Oaks is a good team, but we played well.”
Piqua got a run in the first off Justin Soper.
Dylan Arnold walked, Travis Smith singled and after a walk to Logan Harris, Howie Ludwig had a sacrifice fly to score Arnold.
Bryce Evans had a leadoff double for Three Oaks in the second, but Austin Arnold retired the next three hitters.
In the Three Oaks fourth, Andrew Hodges and Devin Beeney had singles to start the inning.
Hodges was picked off second on a throw that went from Austin Arnold to shortstop Dylan Arnold to third baseman Eversole.
Brandon Rath reached on an error, but Austin Arnold was able to get out of the inning unscathed.
Piqua made 2-0 in the home fourth.
Michael Ashcraft reached on an error and with two outs, Ashcraft was on third and Joe McGillivary was on first.
McGillivary was caught between first and second, but kept the rundown going long enough for Ashcraft to score.
Piqua took advantage of a walk and two hit batters to make it 4-0 in the fifth.
The first run scored on Harris’ fielder’s choice, with the second run scoring when Ludwig reached base.
In the sixth, Joe McGillivary walked and Matt McGillivary was hit by a pitch.
Eversole had a two-run single, scoring Matt McGillivary and Spencer Lavey, who pinch ran for the final tally of 6-0.
Soper and Rath combined on a two-hitter for Three Oaks, walking six, hitting two batters and striking out five.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.