By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
PIQUA — Troy baseball coach Ty Welker took one look at his team and knew everything was going to be fine.
And his team validated that with eight runs in two innings Monday at Hardman Field en route to a 10-1 win over Piqua in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play.
Piqua had just scored on a two-out strikeout in the home second to go up 1-0 on the Trojans.
“I always like to see how my kids react to situations like that,” Welker said. “And they didn’t bat an eye.”
Instead they scored four runs in both the third and fourth innings to take control, and that was more than enough for Troy pitcher Ethan West.
Piqua’s only hit in the game came on an infield single by Ethan Pohlschneider in the second as Troy improved to 13-4 overall and 8-3 in the GWOC American North play, while Piqua dropped to 9-9 overall and 6-7 in GWOC American North play.
“He (Ethan West) did a great job of mixing things up and keeping us off-balance,” Piqua coach Brad Lavey said. “Credit to that young man.”
And Welker wasn’t surprised.
“Ethan has pitched well all year,” he said about his right-hander who had nine strikeouts while walking just one and hitting one batter. “We haven’t always given him a lot of support. Especially on Mondays. You just never know when our bats are going to get going.”
On Monday, they came to life in the third.
“I thought the first two innings, that (Owen) Toopes did a nice job and made some good pitches, and we weren’t able to score,” Welker said.
Both the third and fourth innings started off with the bottom of the order.
In the third, nine-hitter Weston Smith hit the first of his two doubles to start things. He was 3 for 3 in the game with two doubles.
“We had him batting leadoff the last couple of games,” Welker said. “He was definitely more comfortable being back in the nine spot today.”
Caleb Fogarty followed with walk and Austin Kendall put down a sacrifice.
Jacob Adams had an RBI single, Braeden Snider had a two-run single and West helped himself with a sacrifice fly to the shortstop in short left field to make it 4-1.
Troy added four more runs in the fourth.
Eight-hitter Matt Bigley and Smith started things with singles.
After Fogarty walked, Kendall hit a ball over the right fielder’s head. With the runners holding, Kendall got caught between first and second, with Bigley and Smith both scoring and Fogarty ending up on third.
Fogarty scored on a wild pitch and Adams, who walked, scored when a ball was misplayed in the outfield.
“When he (Weston Smith) gets on base, it really sets things up for us with the top of the order,” Welker said.
Lavey was disappointed with how things went in the third and fourth.
“Troy is a good team, and when you don’t execute and do what you are supposed to do, they can put runs up in a hurry,” Lavey said.
Troy added its final two runs in the seventh.
Cole Brogan reached on an error and Sam Shaneyfelt walked.
Brogan scored on a wild pitch and Luke Severt had a RBI single.
The Piqua run had come in the second when Pohlschneider was on third after an infield single and with two outs, batter Isaiah Hicks struck out but reached first when the ball got past the Troy catcher, with Pohlschneider scoring.
Toopes went the distance for Piqua, hurling a nine-hitter.
He struck out five and walked two.
“Which just have to erase this from our memory banks and come back ready to play tomorrow,” Lavey said about the two teams playing at Troy Tuesday.
Welker expects another challenge, despite having ace Cole Brogan on the mound.
“I just hope we don’t relax with (Cole) Brogan out there,” Welker said. “I know Piqua will come ready to play.”
And he expects his team to respond just like they did Monday.
Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org