VANDALIA — The Troy-Vandalia-Butler baseball games always seem to play a pivotal role in determing the MVL champion.
And Troy coach Ty Welker and Vandalia-Butler coach Trent Dues were happy to not see the game played Monday in bitterly cold, rainy conditions.
The game will now be played at the Market Street Diamond on Thursday, with softball hosting Butler on Wednesday.
Currently, the MVL is a tight race with Troy and Tippecanoe having one conference loss and Greenville, Piqua and Butler all having two losses.
“Duesy (Butler coach Trent Dues) and I have had that conversation before,” Welker said. “We never see a game like this played in rain or bad weather.”
Troy beat Butler 5-2 in 10 innings at Butler Friday night — after winning an 11-inning game down there last year.
“It seems like we have had a lot of classic battles,” Welker said. “I remember a 13-inning game at Troy. We have had 10 and 11 inning games down there and we have had some nine inning games.”
The game was tied 2-2 Friday when Troy scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning.
It started with a Caleb Akins double. After he went to third, Hayden Frey was intentionally walked, bringing Owen Harlamert to the plate.
“They walked Hayden to set up the double play,” Welker said. “They called time to out to the mound and talk things over. I called Owen (Harlamert) down to third and told him and Caleb (Akins) it would be a good time for a squeeze bunt.”
Harlamert put the bunt down on the first pitch and all hands were safe.
“It was a high pitch, it was tough one to bunt,” Welker said. “But, Owen (Harlamert) is one of our best bunters and did a great job. They tried to make a play at the plate but Kaleb (Akins) beat it.”
After Matthew Hempker was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with two out and Eli Donnan came to the plate.
Donnan drilled a double, scoring both Frey and Harlamert to make it 5-2. Hempker was thrown out trying to score to end the inning, but the damage was done.
“That was a huge hit by Eli (Donnan),” Welker said. “Especially against Hunter Richardson. He is one of the best (pitchers) around.”
Frey had pitched the first four innings for Troy and combined with Trayce Mercer and Jacob Lucas on a 10-hitter, striking out 16 and walking four.
“Hayden (Frey) threw well,” Welker said. “His pitch count was around 70 pitches. Trayce (Mercer) came in and did his job and Jacob (Lucs) pitched the last two innings.”
Frey also scored three of Troy’s five runs and Connor Hutchinson was 2-for-3 with a double.
Welker said the three-day wait won’t affect the pitching.
“We were expecting to see Hunter Richardson today,” Welker said. “We were going to throw (Andrew) Helman and we will throw him Thursday. It just jumbles things up on the schedule a little. We have games Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week and Monday and Tuesday next week.
“They are all league games. But, this year we have a little more depth on the pitching staff to be able to handle that.”
One thing is certain.
It is Troy-Butler, so you can expect another battle to the end.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]