By Rob Kiser
It was a game that would have made Piqua Post 184 coach Justin Jennings proud.
And it continued a theme for the July 4 tournament for the Piqua Post 184 American Legion baseball team.
After topping the Springfield Titans 4-3 in the opening game of the tournament and rallying for a 6-3 win over Armoloy Saturday night, Piqua saved its best comeback for the championship game.
And it was former Lehman Catholic star Max Schutt who finished off a comeback from a 4-0 deficit in the eighth inning Sunday at Hardman Field for a 5-4 victory with a walkoff double.
“It was extra innings, so I was looking for a pitch I could drive,” Schutt said.
A walk to Andrew Lundvall and a single by Braden Goodwin had started the eighth inning, bringing Schutt to the plate with runners on first and second and no outs.
Schutt drilled a shot over the leftfielder Scott Instine’s head to score Lundvall and end it.
“He (Scott Instine) kind of got a late jump on it,” the Post 184 catcher who will play for Edison next season, said. “It seemed like he was tracking it, but is just kept tailing away from him. It seemed like we were coming from behind the entire tournament.”
On Saturday, Piqua had trailed 2-0 going to the sixth inning before using a four-run inning to win.
This time, had fallen behind 4-0 going to the home fifth.
Amroloy scored one run in the third when Andrew Tincher singled and scored on pitcher Dalton Holycross’ triple.
Springfield made it 4-0 in the fifth.
Armoloy took advantage of an error and two walks.
Brandon Davis scored on a wild pitch and Cameron Kettler had a two-run single. Third baseman Michael Anderson prevented further damage, throwing Kettler out at the plate on an infield grounder, with Schutt making the tag.
Holycross, who had blanked Piqua on one hit through four innings, ran into trouble in the home fifth — not all of his own doing.
Howie Ludwig and Austin Arnold both singled.
Josh Osterholt reached on an fielder’s choice with Arnold forced out at second. When Osterholt stole second, the throw went into centerfield, with Ludwig scoring from third.
Dylan Arnold singled Osterholt in and ended up circling the bases.
He took second on a throw to plate and when the throw to second ended up at the centerfield fence, Arnold scored to make it 4-3.
Post 184 pitcher Travis Smith doubled and scored on Lundvall’s single to make it 4-4.
“I am really proud of the kids, but we have to quit waiting until the fifth inning,” Piqua Post 184 manager Jeff Jennings said with a smile. “You have to give Armoloy credit. That is a good team.”
It was tough conditions for both pitchers, with it raining throughout the game.
“Their pitcher (Dalton Holycross) never complained and never did Travis (Smith),” Jeff Jennings said. “Travis (Smith) really battled out there. There was one time we were going to pull him and he got the next guy out. One reason we stayed with him was his pitch count was low. He ended up with 105 pitches for the game.”
Smith had walked two batters in the seventh, but got the next two batters to get out of it.
Dylan Arnold had a two-out double in the home seventh, but was stranded.
In the eighth, Noah Richard made a big play at third on a hard hit ball for the second out.
“We had used Noah (Richard) as a pinch-hitter in the seventh,” Jeff Jennings said. “He didn’t get a hit, but he made a great play there in the eighth.”
That set up another big rally by Post 184 for the tournament win.
Smith pitched a five-hitter, striking out two, walking eighth and hitting one batter.
Holycross pitched a nine-hitter, with three walks, three strikeouts and a hit batter.
Richmond canceled the first game Sunday, leaving Post 184 with an 18-13 record heading into Tuesday’s doubleheader with the Titans. First pitch is at 5 p.m. at Hardman Field.
“We have a week to get ready for the district tournament,” Jeff Jennings said. “JJ (Justin Jennings) couldn’t be here for this game because of work and he was worried about how things were going to go. It seemed like they won one for JJ.”
And kept the hardware at home for the first Post 184 July 4 tournament — in a way that made the entire coaching staff proud.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.