By Rob Kiser
It wasn’t easy or perfect.
But, the Piqua baseball team found a way to gut out an 8-6 win over Fairmont Friday at Hardman Field.
It was the Indians sixth win in seven games, heading into today’s 11 a.m. single game with West Carrollton at Hardman Field and improved the Indians to 6-5 on the season.
“That is the great thing about these kids,” Piqua coach Jared Askins said. “There is no quit in them.”
Fairmont had taken a 4-0 lead after two and a half innings.
Jake Dupler had a two-run triple in the second, while Austin Warden had a RBI double in the third.
Piqua, who was hitless in the first three innings off Drew Gudgell, broke out the bats in the fourth.
Derrick Gullett had a ground rule double after a walk to Travis Smith.
“If we didn’t have the fence, that would have been at least a triple,” Askins said. “It was good to see Derrick (Gullett) get a big hit like that.”
A two-run single by Derek Hite, a RBI double by Austin Davis and a one-out RBI single by Ethan Garland tied it at 4-4.
“Sometimes it is hard to get a read on these kids on whether they came to play,” Askins said. “But, there is no quit in these guys.”
Tommy Bell started the fifth for Fairmont with a double and two Piqua errors helped put the Indians in a 6-4 hole.
But, Piqua chased Gudgell in the fifth with four more runs to take an 8-6 lead.
Again, Hite had a two-run hit, a single, while Davis had a RBI on a fielder’s choice to give Piqua the lead. With two out and the bases loaded, Rupert Delacruz hit one a couple feet out in front of the plate and beat it out to make it 8-6.
“I always say, ‘Clutch hitters get clutch hits’,” Askins said. “That was huge — especially after they had gotten two runs in the top of the inning to take the lead.”
Hite, who led Piqua’s eight-hit attack by going 3-fr-3 with four RBIs — also went the distance on the mound, throwing a 115 pitches. He threw a six-hitter, striking out four and walking three. He also overcame five Piqua errors.
“He said he was feeling sore in the third or fourth inning,” Askins said. “A lot of times that is normal soreness. After he said that, he seemed to really lock in an start holding baserunners closer. He did a great job out there and really battled. We had some errors, but so did they. It is high school baseball.”
Piqua was coming off a deceiving 9-2 loss to Springboro Thursday.
The Indians were trailing just 3-2 before Springboro scored six runs in the home sixth inning.
“Logan Harris was fantastic (on the mound),” Askins said. “Great start when we needed someone to eat
up some innings. He kept them off balance all night. We just couldn’t string together hits tonight to push some runners across. Give their pitcher credit. He had us guessing at the plate.
“What I liked was for five and one-half innings we competed toe-to-toe with one of the best in the area. It shows me we are moving in the right direction.”
Harris had five walkouts and four strikeouts in five-plus innings to keep Piqua in the game.
Cory Cottrell and Hite had a doubles for Piqua, while Garland had a single and one RBI.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.