TROY — It was not a work of art by any means — especially on defense.
But, the name of the game at this point of the season is to move on.
And the Troy baseball team did exactly that in a D-I district semifinal against Beavercreek Tuesday at the Market Street diamond.
The Trojans improved to 22-7 with a 5-1 win over Beavercreek, who dropped to 17-11.
Troy advances to play in Mason, the second ranked team in the state, in a district final at 5 p.m. Thursday at Centerville High School.
The last time Troy advanced to the district finals in 2015, Mason was the opponent.
And the Comets were the opponent in a 2014 regional semifinal.
“When we get to district, we look at that as our state championship,” Troy baseball coach Ty Welker said. “Mason is ranked second in the state. We can only control what we do. We look at it as Mason has to play us.”
On Tuesday, Hayden Frey, Trayce Mercer and Jacob Lucas combined on a one-hitter and overcame five Troy errors on defense.
“They did a good job,” Welker said. “Of course, you would like to be sharp every game. But, the kids were playing for each other tonight. We made some mistakes, but the kids had each other’s backs.”
Frey pitched five innings of hitless baseball, striking out five and walking three.
“Hayden (Frey) has pitched well all year,” Welker said. “Nobody hit him hard. He pitched at Vandalia-Butler. He pitched one of the Tippecanoe games. We wanted to ride him as far as he could go. We just felt like he was losing a little bit after five innings.”
In the first, he pitched out of a first and second and one out situation.
In the third, it was second and third with two outs.
And in the fifth, it was first and third with two outs.
“There were a couple of situations there where it could have been a completely different game if we hadn’t got out of them,” Welker said.
Shortstop Ryder Kirtley had the defense play of the game in the fourth inning, fielding a ball behind second base and throwing a runner out.
“That was a web gem,” Welker said.
At the same time, Troy made the most of its opportunities.
In the second Owen Harlamert reached on an error and would eventually score on a Eli Donnan single.
Troy made it 3-0 in the third.
Kirtley singled and would scored on a double by Harlamert after a sacrifice bunt by Frey.
Matthew Hempker followed with a RBI single.
“I thought we did a good job of moving runners and taking advantage of situations,” Welker said.
It was still 3-0 in the sixth inning.
With Trayce Mercer on the mound, Austin Papalios had the Beavers first hit and two Troy errors led to one run, before Mercer got two outs with the tying runs on base to end the threat.
“Trayce (Mercer) has been in that situation a lot this year,” Welker said. “That was a big transtion inning to get us to the seventh.”
In the home sixth, Eli Smith had a single.
Pinch-hitter Zane Huelsman followed with a RBI double and Connor Hutchinson’s sacrifice fly scored him to make it 5-1.
“Zane Huelsman,” Welker said. “I knew he was going to get a hit in that situation and he came through.”
Jacob Lucas pitched the seventh, setting Beavercreek down in order and ending the game with two strikeouts.
“It doesn’t matter if the score is 20-0 or 2-1,” Welker said. “Jacob (Lucas) comes in and that is what he does.”
Owen Roether and Avery Aparicio combined on a six-hitter for Beavercreek, striking out five and walking four.
“We had a similar game like this two years ago (against Franklin in the second round of the tournament),” Welker said. “And we didn’t win that game. Tonight, we did.”
Find a way to survive and advance — which is all that really matters.
Kenton Ridge 4,
SPRINGFIELD — The Tippecanoe baseball team had its season end at 17-13 with a loss at Kenton Ridge High School Tuesday.
Troy Christian 4,
Twin Valley South 0
WEST ALEXANDRIA — The Troy Christian baseball team improved to 12-10 with a D-IV district semifinal win on the road Tuesday.
Troy Christian plays Bradford, 20-10, at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Houston High School in a D-IV district final.
Judah Simmons pitched a one-hitter for Troy Christian, striking out nine.
Ben Major was 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.
Matthew Major was 2-for-3, Zane Harris had a RBI and Simmons helped himself with a double.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]