By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
Piqua baseball coach Jared Askins knew his team needed a nearly flawless effort against Northmont Saturday.
What he got was nothing close — and the result was a predictable doubleheader sweep by the T-Bolts by scores of 8-2 and 10-2, snapping Piqua’s four-game winning streak.
“You have to play a nearly perfect game to beat Northmont,” Askins said. “You can’t boot the ball around like we did today.”
While Peyton Cartwright’s seven walks in four and two-third innings didn’t help the Piqua southpaw, it was the defense that put the Indians in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.
Piqua catcher Buddy Nix had limited the T-Bolts damage, picking a runner off third in the first inning and throwing a runner out attempting to steal in the second.
As a result, Northmont was leading just 1-0 in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and two outs when back-to-back balls were misplayed in the outfield, stretching the T-Bolts lead to 5-0.
The first turned into a three-run double by Kyle Craddick and the latter, a fly ball by Zach Weatherford, allowed another run to score.
“We should have been out of that 1-0,” Askins said. “That’s what you have to do (keep the game close). Just like the Fairborn game. We didn’t have any hits in the first three innings and then got a big hit. Two fly balls to the outfield.”
Michael Anderson scored in the fourth for Piqua, when he reached on an error and came around to score on a wild pitch.
Greg Peffley had a two-run triple in the fifth to stretch Northmont’s lead to 8-1.
Cam Gordon had a RBI single in the home sixth to score Jacob Teague and make it 6-2, but that was as close as the Indians could get.
Bryan Mayse had two hits for Piqua and Nix had a double as Jamie West and Conner Coy combined on a four-hitter. They struck out three and walked two.
Cartwright and Anderson combined on an eight-hitter for Piqua, striking out three and walking eight.
In the second game, Piqua freshman Travis Smith made his debut and certainly deserved a better fate.
Two more misplayed balls in the outfield led to a six-run Northmont fourth inning to turn a 1-0 lead into 7-0 and end any Piqua victory hopes.
“The one was a ball lost in the sun, but still,” Askins said. “You send a freshman out there for his first game. Travis did exactly what I told him to do. Throw strikes and let your defense make plays — and we can’t even get him out of that inning.”
Piqua’s only two runs came in the fifth inning on a fielder’s choice by Gordon and RBI single by Buddy Nix, who was 2-for-4 with a double.
Anderson was also 2-for-4 as Northmont’s Jacob Stone, Matt Pfeffer and Matt Deskins combined on a five-hitter, walking four and striking out one.
Travis Smith, Austin Reedy, Kyle Smith and Derrick Gullett combined on a 11-hitter for Piqua, striking out six, walking four and hitting two batters.
Piqua, 6-5 overall and 2-2 in the GWOC North, has two big games with Vandalia-Butler.
The Indians host the Aviators Monday and travel to Vandalia Tuesday.
“Those are going to be two more tough games,” Askins said. “We have to be ready to play.”
And after a five-error Saturday, better defense is a must.