By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — The game is never over — until it is over.
And the Piqua Post 184-Sidney Post 217 American Legion baseball game Wednesday at Custenborder Field was proof of that.
Down to its final two outs trailing 8-4, Piqua put together an amazing comeback.
Piqua scored four runs in the seventh to force extra innings and when shortstop Rylee Deitsch stepped on second base after fielding a ground ball up the middle in the home eighth inning, Piqua walked off with a 9-8 victory to improve to 10-7 overall and 3-1 in league play. Sidney drops to 6-9.
“We are always talking about one at bat at a time,” Post 184 coach Justin Jennings said. “So, that is how we were looking at it. This is a huge win.”
Rightfielder Chase Humphrey agreed.
“I think this is really going to bring us together as a team,” Humphrey, who had the game-winning RBI said. “This is a big win.”
After Evan Monnier had pitched the first seven innings in Sidney, Zach Griesdorn came in to pitch the eighth inning.
After he got the first batter out, Humphrey was hit by a pitch and Post 184 pitcher Seth Clayton doubled.
Howie Ludwig followed with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 8-6.
After a fly out, Piqua was down to its last our.
Colton Schafer walked to put the tying runs on base.
Will Eversole kept Piqua alive with a RBI single make it 8-7 and bring Cory Cotrell to the plate.
“I just knew what I had to do,” Cotrell said. “I had a full count, so I had to swing at anything close. Fortunately, he came in with a fastball and I was able to pull it.”
Cotrell drilled a RBI single to tie the game at eight and force extra innings.
“To be honest, it was a big relief (when he realized he had delivered a game-tying hit),” Cotrell said. “I think a comeback like this will bring the team together.”
In the home seventh, Eversole made a leaping grab at third base of a smash off Jack Dapore’s bat and Logan Harris made two plays at first base to get to the eighth inning.
After Harris led off the eighth with a single, Kaden Walker pinch-ran for him.
Humphrey then capped a 3-for-4 game with a shot into the left-center field gap as Walker circled the bases to give Piqua the lead.
“To be honest, I was just hoping the ball would get to the ground,” Humphrey said. “I wasn’t thinking about that (if it had a chance to go out for a home run). I just wanted to make sure I didn’t get picked off.”
After a leadoff singled by Hunter Cohee in Sidney’s eighth inning, Harris entered the game in relief.
“He told me in the fifth inning he wanted to close the game,” Jennings said. “But, Seth (Clayton) was pitching pretty well at the time.”
After a one-out walk to Austin Shinabery, RJ Bertini hit a grounder to Eversole at third.
There was a run down, with Cohee eventually being tagged out by Harris, who covered home.
Shinaberry, who had taken third, had to go back to second because there was a dead ball when Cohee tried to knock the ball out of Harris’ glove with his arm.
After a wild pitch put runners on second and third, Jarred Seigle was intentionally walked to load the bases before Deitsch stepped on second on a ground ball up the middle to end the game.
“What a great effort,” Jennings said. “This is a huge win and moves us to 3-1 in the league.”
Piqua had taken a 1-0 lead in the second when Humphrey singled and came around to score after two Sidney errors.
Piqua made it 2-0 in the third after a RBI single by Humphrey.
Sidney took a 3-2 lead in the home third, when Seigle’s bases-loaded single cleared the bases when the ball got past the Piqua outfield.
Piqua came back with two runs in the fourth to go up 4-3.
Ludwig led things off with a double and Schafer had a RBI fielder’s choice and Deitsch had another big two-strike hit, a RBI single.
Cohee had a two-run single in the home fourth to put Sidney up 5-4 and it stayed that way until the sixth inning.
Kyle Noble had a two-run double and another run scored on an error to make it 8-4 and set up Piqua’s improbable comeback.
Clayton and Harris combined on an eight-hitter for Piqua, striking out four, walking two and hitting two batters.
Monnier and Griesdorn combined on a 13-hitter, as Piqua had hits in every inning.
Along with Humphrey’s three hits, Eversole, Deitsch and Ludwig had two hits each.
Cohee had four hits for Sidney and Austin McLain had two hits.
The two teams will meet again at Hardman Field next week — looking to match the excitement provided by Wednesday’s game.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.