By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
PIQUA — Piqua softball coach Greg Campbell was a little stressed coming into Monday’s Senior Night matchup against rival Troy.
“I pleaded with the girls to stay focused,” he said. “Senior Night for the seniors can be emotional, and my three seniors all start and are key players. So for them to stay focused and deliver was key.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
Troy’s Skylar Kline hit a three-run homer — the third of three longballs between the teams on the day — to erase a deficit and put the Trojans up 6-5 in the top of the fifth. But the Indians tied the score in the sixth, senior pitcher Mariah Blankenship held the potent Troy lineup scoreless in the next four innings and senior Kamy Trissell hit a walkoff RBI double in the bottom of the ninth to give the Indians (16-6, 8-5 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Trojans Monday at Piqua High School.
With the score tied at 6-6, Jordaya Walker led off the bottom of the ninth by beating out an infield single. After an easy flyout for the first out, Kamy Trissell drove the ball the other way into the left-center gap, and Walker scored all the way from first base to end the game.
“It was pretty great,” Kamy Trissell said. “I always want to come through for my team whenever it’s needed. But the fact that it was on Senior Night made it mean that much more to me.
“I was just thinking ‘I’ve got to hit it. I’ve got to hit. I’ve got to get on base somehow, some way,’” Kamy Trissell said. “One run was going to be the difference, so I just tried to do my job as best I could.”
“Mariah threw well, (catcher) Kylie (Trissell) was a brick wall behind the plate and Kamy, she made a fantastic catch to save a run (in the eighth inning) in center field and then came through with that double to win the game. I couldn’t ask for a better effort from my seniors,” Campbell said.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Trojans (9-14, 7-6 GWOC American North), who entered the game having won four of their last six and sat tied for third place in the division with Piqua, two games behind second-place Tippecanoe.
“We played great defense tonight, and Erica (Keenan) pitched well,” Troy coach Scott Beeler said. “Over the last four innings, there were only two runs scored. We were playing good defense, they were playing good defense, and it was just going to come down to who the better hitting team was.”
And both teams came out swinging.
Back-to-back singles by Hannah Anderson and Kamy Trissell to lead off the bottom of the first put runners on the corners, and Blankenship hit an RBI infield single to the hole at short to get Piqua on the board. Trissell stole home on a double steal to make it a 2-0 game, and an RBI groundout by Reagan Toopes gave the Indians a three-run lead early.
The Trojans struck back in the top of the third with the first blast of the day, with Paige Nadolny driving a high fly ball off the top of the left-field fence and over to score Megan Malott, a two-run shot that cut the lead to 3-2. But Piqua answered in the bottom of the inning, with Paige Hinkle drawing a leadoff walk and then Toopes clobbering a two-run homer to give the Indians a 5-2 lead.
“Reagan hit a heck of a shot,” Campbell said. “She’s a freshman, and she was flawless at shortstop tonight, too. She may be young, but she reads the ball so well, stays focused and calm under pressure. Reagan did a great job tonight.”
Troy wasn’t done, though.
Lexi Piper led off the top of the fifth with a double, and Malott followed with an RBI single back up the middle. Bri Lavender singled with one out to put two on for Kline, who yanked a three-run blast over the fence in left to put the Trojans up 6-5.
The Indians cashed in a leadoff double by Toopes in the bottom of the sixth, though, as she stole third and then scored on an RBI groundout by Walker to tie things up.
From there, Blankenship and Troy starter Keenan put up matching zeroes until Kamy Trissell’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth.
“It came down to who was the better hitting team, and I think that even though we had two home runs, we were anxious at bat,” Beeler said. “We were swinging at bad pitches. We’ve got to be more patient when we’re at bat and recognize those pitches.”
Toopes was 2 for 4 with a double, a homer and three RBIs and Kamy Trissell was 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI to lead the Indians, with Blankenship and Walker each adding an RBI. Blankenship also went the distance for the win on the mound, allowing six runs on 11 hits, no walks and a hit-batter with four strikeouts.
Keenan also went the distance for Troy, allowing seven runs on nine hits and four walks with five strikeouts. Offensively, Kline was 1 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs, Nadolny was 1 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs, Briana Lavender was 3 for 3 with a double, Malott was 2 for 5 with an RBI and Piper was 2 for 4 with two doubles.
The two teams will close out the series Tuesday in Troy.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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