TROY — With both teams putting baserunners on in chunks early in Tuesday’s district tournament opener, it seemed only a matter of time before either Lima Post 96 or Troy Post 43 would bust through with a big inning.
One big inning would have been crucial, but Troy decided to do it twice just to be safe.
Troy scored four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings en route to a 12-4 blowout win over Post 96 in the district tournament. Lima moves to the consolation bracket, where it will take on either Sidney or Piqua at 6 p.m. today at Duke Park.
Lima had been playing very well in the early innings. After starting pitcher Colin Gossard allowed single runs in each of the first two innings, Post 96 scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game up. Then, in the fourth inning, Dalton Martz came through with an RBI single to left that pushed Lima in front 3-2.
As quickly as Lima gained the lead, however, Troy took it back.
In the fifth inning, Gossard allowed four straight hits to begin the inning, the last of which was a monster three-run home run by Troy’s Colton Nealeigh, and Lima suddenly found itself on the wrong end of a 6-3 ballgame after five innings.
It was a deficit that would only grow larger as the night went on.
“It took the wind out of our sails,” Lima coach Doug Waddle said. “We’re playing a team that’s sort of owned us this year, and we were right there with them. We took the lead, they took it back, and it was a moment in the game where we had to stay competitive, and we lost our intensity.”
Troy put another four spot up in the sixth inning, this time with Lima’s Tanner Koverman on the mound. Koverman surrendered a pair of walks along with a pair of hits, with the biggest blow being a single to left that left fielder Doug Sanders bobbled, then made an errant throw to the infield that allowed two runs to score and the hitter to move all the way to third.
By starting its tournament with a loss, Lima will now need to win out the rest of the week in order to earn a state berth.
“I expect them to battle tomorrow,” Waddle said. “I told them after the game I don’t want our season to come to an end tomorrow just like they don’t. It’s all about keeping a competitive spirit and maintaining that for 27 outs.”
Colin Stolly led Lima’s hitters with a 3-for-5 evening that included a double. Martz went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and run scored. Can Jenkins also doubled for Lima.
Post 96 ran Troy starter Luke Feldman after just three innings, but didn’t fare nearly as well against reliever Ryan Lavy. Lavy dominated Lima with a nice sidearm delivery and a good mix of pitches that Post 96 could never get on top of. Lavy earned the win, throwing six innings and allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out two and walked none.