TROY — Troy High School baseball junior Eli Donnan wasn’t going to wait around at the plate Tuesday night in the home seventh inning of the season opener at the Market Street Diamond against Greenville.
And Troy coach Ty Welker wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
With the game tied 4-4 and Ryder Kirtley on second base and Eli Smith on first with one out, Donnan came to the plate with a chance to end the game.
“I was thinking to hit something low and hard,” Donnan said. “And I was looking for something to hit on the first pitch.”
Donnan did exactly that.
He hit a drive over the leftfielder’s head.
While in normal circumstances, it would have been a double — the game ended when Kirtley crossed the plate to give Troy a walk-off a 5-4 win.
“It got a great pitch to hit,” Donnan said. “”Fortunately, it was a softball. I was sure hoping (it was over the outfielder’s head). It is not great (hitting in the cold), but after a couple swings you get used it.”
Welker was pleased to see Donnan deliver the game-winning hit.
“He had been struggling a little in the pre-season and he knows that,” Welker said. “Tonight, was the Eli Donnan of last year.”
Troy had taken a 3-0 lead in the second inning with some aggressive base running.
After Trayce Mercer and Donnan had started the inning with walks, Hayden Frey got down a bunt to move the runners to second and third.
Both runners scored on Owen Harlamert’s grounder deep in the hole for a base hit.
Harlamert stole second and scored on Caleb Adkins RBI single.
Greenville answered with two runs in the third when Seth Delk had a RBI single and anothe run scored on Alex Kolb’s double play ball.
“The only thing there was Trayce (Mercer) started the inning with a walk when we needed a shutout inning,” Welker said. “He probably deserved to get the win, if we had hit the ball.”
The score remained the same until the Greenville sixth when Ricky Heidrick had a two-run single to give the Wave a 4-3 lead.
Troy then took advantage of the Greenville defense to rally.
After one was out in the sixth, Donnan, Frey and Harlamert all reached on errors to load the bases.
Nick Kaweicki walked on four pitches to force in the tying run, before Greenville reliever Brock Short got out of the jam with two strikeouts.
Jacob Lucas then pitched a perfect seventh inning for Troy, with two strikeouts.
“He was impressive,” Welker said. “That is the thing. You don’t know what to expect. He had never pitched in a varsity baseball game.”
In the home seventh, Kirtley reached on an error and Smith walked to set up Donnan’s walk-off hit to end it.
Mercer and allowed five hits over the first six innings, striking out eight and walking two.
Hutchinson had a double for Troy, as Hayden Bush and Short combined on a four-hitter, striking out five and walking two.
“We talked about making Greenville’s defense make plays,” Welker said. “And we didn’t do that. I don’t know how many fly balls we hit for outs. They only made the play on two balls that were hit on the ground. We were able to take advantage of their mistakes the last two innings. But, you don’t ever want to complain about a win.”
The Trojans were scheduled to play at Greenville Wednesday, hoping for another good ending.