By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Watching the batter before him seemingly ground out on a routine play to end the third inning, Troy’s Braeden Snider knew he would still get his chance.
“I was standing at home plate where the home plate umpire was, and as soon as I saw him (the Piqua first baseman) pull his foot off the bag — me playing first base, too, I knew he pulled his foot,” Snider said. “When coach called the appeal, I knew it was going to get reversed and I was going to get my chance to bat.”
And Snider made good on that opportunity, too.
Troy’s senior first baseman ripped a line drive that found its way between first and second base for a clutch two-out, two-run single, and Cole Brogan followed that with an RBI single of his own, the only runs the Trojans would score on the day — but Brogan made them stand up on the mound, limiting the Indians to only two hits in a 3-1 Troy victory over Piqua Tuesday at Market Street Field to complete a two-game sweep of the division series.
Coupled with Monday’s 10-1 win at Piqua, the sweep makes Troy 14-4 overall and 9-3 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division, good enough for sole possession of second place in the standings, while the Indians fell to 9-10 and 6-8 in the division.
And Tuesday’s win all hinged on one play.
Caleb Fogarty beat out an infield single with one out in the bottom of the third and stole second, and a flyout brought up Jacob Adams with two outs. Adams hit what seemed like a routine groundout to short, but as the Indians were coming off the field, an appeal was made to the home plate umpire on whether or not Piqua’s first baseman kept his foot on the bag — and the out was overturned, putting runners on the corners with two outs and keeping the inning going for Snider.
“I think the guy pulled his foot. I don’t think there was a question about that,” Welker said. “I did like the way we responded after that, though. We didn’t spoil the chance there. We managed to get a couple of runs, we hit the ball — and we hit some line drives. It’s amazing what can happen when you put the ball in play on a line.”
“All I’ll say is we blame only ourselves for the things that happen, and we move forward with the ballgame,” Piqua’s Brad Lavey said. “I told my kids that this game’s about the present and the future — you can’t control what’s happened to you in the past.”
Adams stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Snider, who yanked a 2-1 pitch between the first and second baseman to bring home both runs and put Troy up 2-0.
“I really wanted to, too. I really wanted to get up that inning,” Snider said. “I’m just more confident in big situations like that. I feel like I do better in those situations because I understand that there’s a job that has to be done.
“It’s happened a couple times this year. It feels pretty good.”
Brogan was up next, and after Snider stole second base to get into scoring position, he dropped a blooper into right field to bring home another insurance run to make the score 3-0.
That was the only opportunity that Piqua starter Iverson Ventura gave the Trojans in the game, though. He limited Troy to only six hits on the day — four of them in that one inning — and walked three while striking out one.
“Our offense struggles against guys that throw like that,” Welker said. “We just didn’t have really good at-bats today. I just think that we definitely swung at more of his pitches than our pitches.”
And Piqua got a run back in the top of the fourth on some heads-up baserunning by Mick Karn. Karn reached on an error to lead off the inning and stole second, then on a routine groundout to third, Karn broke on contact and didn’t stop, scoring all the way from second on the play to cut the lead to 3-1.
“We competed the way we’re supposed to compete all the way around tonight,” Lavey said. “Iverson threw well and kept people off balance, challenged hitters and used the defense behind him. We didn’t get enough done at the plate today, but we were facing an excellent young man and an excellent Troy defense, and against them you’ve got to hit the ball hard and run the bags a little bit. And we didn’t quite get it done tonight.
“There’s no second place, though. You win or you lose. I don’t teach these kids much about consolation prizes. But it’s something to build off of, and we know what we need to work on.”
That’s where things remained the rest of the way, though, as Brogan shut down the Indians’ bats, pitching a two-hitter, walking one and striking out six, improving to 6-0 on the season in seven starts. All of the runs scored by both teams on the day were unearned.
“He grinded it out today,” Welker said of Brogan. “He didn’t feel like he had his best stuff, and we usually give him a bit more support. But he held them to two hits and one run, and you can’t ask for more out of your pitcher than that.”
Offensively, no one had multiple hits for either team. Adams doubled for Troy, Snider was 1 for 3 with two RBIs, Brogan was 1 for 2 with an RBI, Ethan West and Sam Shaneyfelt were both 1 for 3 and Fogarty was 1 for 2. Owen Toopes and Cameron Deal both went 1 for 3 for Piqua.
Next up for Piqua is a GWOC American League crossover matchup at Fairborn on Wednesday, while Troy travels to Northmont Thursday and Trotwood Friday to tune up for next week’s two-game series against unbeaten division leader Butler.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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