GREENVILLE – Greenville Legion Post 140 lost a low-scoring pitchers’ duel 3-2 to the defending district champion Piqua Legion Post 184 at Sater Park.
“We aren’t any further from our season goal,” Greenville Legion Post 140 head coach Dr. Thomas Martinez said. “Even in a loss we came a step closer. Greenville is no longer a secret. We just took the defending district champs down to the last at bat. I think the league knows we are here.”
Piqua Post 184 took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, taking advantage of an opening single and a double to left-center to put runners on first and second with no outs.
A long sacrifice-fly ball to Carson Stump (Mississinawa Valley) in center plated the first run of the game, giving Piqua a 1-0 lead.
Stump tracked down the second out of the inning in center with Bailey Haworth picking up a strikeout for the final out in the top of the second.
“Haworth did a splendid job,” Martinez said. “Eight strong innings.”
Piqua picked up an unearned run in the top of the fifth inning to take a 2-0 lead while Greenville Post 140 was going down in order in the bottom of the inning for the fourth time through five complete, keeping a Piqua no-hitter intact.
Back-to-back outs to Cole Burrell (Arcanum) in left and a fourth Haworth strikeout of the game set the visitors down in the top of the sixth inning.
Greenville came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth still looking for its first hit of the game.
Cole Ward (Greenville) broke up the Piqua no-hitter with a sharp two-out single to center, followed with Stump taking first by way of a hit batsman to move Ward to second.
Tanner Maples (Tri-Village) broke up the Post 184 shutout, lacing a single to left with Ward scoring to cut Piqua’s lead to 2-1 heading to seventh inning play.
With both pitchers throwing strikes and each team playing stellar defense, neither team could dent the plate in innings seven and eight.
Coach Martinez went to his bullpen in the top of the ninth inning, bringing in Post 140 hard-throwing sophomore Austin Creager (Anna) to the mound.
“People may question my taking him (Haworth) out and not letting him throw the ninth … but my decisions are always based on the health of the players first,” the coach said.
“Haworth is someone I give a lot of credit to coming off surgery his junior year, working hard to get his arm game ready,” Martinez continued. “I’m not going to risk it. I need him for the entire season, not just one complete game”
Creager picked up two strikeouts in the inning while giving up a run to give Piqua a 3-1 lead with Post 140 coming to the plate for its at bat.
Ward reached base with an opening hit batsman followed with double off the bat of Carson Stump, putting runners on second and third with no outs.
Ward scored Greenville’s second run of the game, cutting Piqua’s lead to 3-2 with the final out coming on a bang-bang play at third with Post 140 losing by one run as Greenville continues to play exciting and aggressive play at bat and on the base paths and in the field in its inaugural season.
“We win games with aggressive base running, but that is a double edged sword,” Martinez said. “If we don’t play with a controlled aggression, mistakes happen. It’s my job to control that.”