VANDALIA — The Troy baseball team split the season series with Vandalia-Butler in dramatic fashion on the road Wednesday.
It took 11 innings for someone to cross the plate — and it was Troy who crossed the plate three times for a 3-0 victory.
It left both teams tied atop the MVL with 8-1 records. Troy improved to 10-2 overall and Butler dropped to 11-2 overall.
“I think it can (give the team confidence,” Troy baseball coach Ty Welker said. “But, we tried to take things day by day. Not get too high or low. And hopefully, they will do that.”
Three Troy pitchers limited Butler to two hits in 11 innings.
Andrew Helman pitched the first eight innings, striking out 10 and walking three while throwing 121 pitches.
“Andrew (Helman) did what we know he can do,” Welker said. “That is one of the best teams in the state. It would have been a shame if we had lost the game the way Andrew pitched.”
Freshman Hayden Frey pitched the ninth and 10th innings, allowing one hit, walking two and striking out one.
“Hayden (Frey) may be a freshman in grade, but his maturity his far beyond that,” Welker said. “His hitting and pitching have shown that. We have a lot of confidence in him.”
Troy had the potential winning runs on second in the ninth and 10th innings, but couldn’t score.
“I feel like we had opportunities, but I am sure Butler would say the same thing.”
The Aviators best chance to score came in the fourth inning.
They had runners on first and third with one out.
Butler put down a suicide squeeze, but Helman came off the mound and fielded the ball to get the runner at the plate.
“They bunted the ball right back to Andrew (Helman),” Welker said. “He didn’t panic. He threw to Owen (Harlamert), who put the tag on.”
Troy was able to break through in the 11th.
After Frey singled to lead off the inning, Harlamert fouled off a full-count pitch before walking with one out.
With two out, Trayce Mercer walked on a full-count pitch to load the bases.
Eli Smith then walked on four pitches to force in Frey.
Caleb Akins followed with a two-run single to make it 3-0.
“Hayden Frey has a hit and ends up scoring the winning run,” Welker said. “And that was a big hit by Caleb Akins.”
After Frey walked the first batter in the home 11th, Jacob Lucas came in and got a pop out and two strikeouts to end the game.
“I know there are some highly touted players and that is fine,” Welker said. “But, Jacob (Lucas) doesn’t care about any of that. The thing I like about Jacob is he always stays very focused. No situation is too big for him. He doesn’t know he should not be able to do that.”
Ryder Kirtley was 2-for-4 for Troy and Eli Donnan was 2-for-5.
“We are still a young team, we have a lot of growing to do,” Welker said. “We have a tough game against Sidney coming up on Friday. We just got passed them the other night. But, when you have Andrew Helman, Brian Allen and Trayce Mercer going out there on the mound, you are going to be in a lot of games. We are finding ways to win those games.”
As they did Wednesday night to gain a share of the lead in the MVL.