ANN ARBOR — The Troy Legends capped an impressive season with a second place finish in the Red Playoffs of the University of Michigan All Prospects Wood Bat tournament.
“This tournament had 36 teams in five pools and we missed the Gold Playoffs by one run,” Troy Legends coach Frosty Brown said. “So, we were in the Red Playoffs with the Chicago Playmakers and South Oakland A’s.”
To get there, the Legends had opened pool play with a 10-0 win over the Michigan Legacy.
Cy Baisden threw a three-hitter, while Noah McEldowney was 2-for-2 at the plate and Tucker Miller and Jacob Kramer added a triple and a double.
Troy then lost to the Michigan Bulls 6-4.
Troy was trailing 4-2, before Gavin Martin tied it with a double in the sixth inning.
But, the Bulls scored two runs in the seventh.
“We had a rough top of the seventh inning,” Brown said. “We thought the inning was over on a 3-2 fastball that cut through the strike zone with the bases loaded. The umpire disagreed.”
That walk made it 5-4 and the next batter was ruled to have been hit by a pitch to make it 6-4.
“It was a tough loss to a very fine team with a great tradition,” Brown said.
Troy then won a 2-1 thriller with the Detroit Maple Leafs.
“Darius Boeke is truly a leader and knowing this was his last game on the mound for us, he literally pitched his heart out,” Brown said. “He struck out six and was backed by great defense.”
After seven scoreless innings, the International Tie Breaker was applied.
So, in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings started with a runner on second.
Boeke pitched in to the 10th inning and throwing 130 pitches, with Detroit scoring a run. Garrett LeMaster came in to get the final out.
Miller started out on second base in the home 10th inning and LeMaster walked.
Warren Hartzell drew a one-out walk to load the bases.
Zach Prouty tied the game on a fielder’s choice.
With runners on first and third and two out, LeMaster and Prouty executed a perfect double steal, with LeMaster scoring the winning run.
Then, the Legends defeated the Detroit Flames 13-2, sending 16 batters to the plate in the first inning.
Grant Saudners threw a two-hitter to get the win.
Jonny Baileys was 3-for-3, Boeke 2-for-2 and Prouty and Kramer added doubles to the 12 hit attack.
Troy defeated the Chicago Playmakers 6-2 in eight innings.
Troy had taken a 1-0 lead in the first, when Boeke walked, stole second and scored on Conner Carver’s double.
Troy found themselves trailing 2-1 in the seventh when Kramer homered to tie the game.
“I have never seen such a smile as Jacob (Kramer) rounded the bases,” Brown said. “That home run gave us new life.”
While, Keith Orndorff, Nick Garber and Levi Polen combined on the pitching effort, Troy broke through with four runs in the eighth inning for the win.
LeMaster led off with a double and an error and a walk to Miller loaded the bases.
Martin drilled a three-run double and Troy added one more run to make the final 6-2.
That put Troy in the Red championship game against the South Oakland A’s.
Troy trailed 3-0 early, before Prouty had a two-run double and Baileys added a RBI single in the second to tie it.
But, the A’s won in a game that was stopped in the fifth inning by rain.
“I think we still had a shot at this game,” Brown said. “We made comebacks in four of the six games.”
Troy finished the season at 42-12.
“We won the Veterans Appreciation Tournament, Grady’s Invitational and the Tiffin Round Robin,” Brown said. “We were runnerups in the NABF Senior Division World Series, Wright State University Wood Bat Classic and in this tournament. We had a 32-6 record against teams from Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Brooklyn, Youngstown, Lexington and Chicago in tournament play.”
Rain took away a number of wins.
“We had 14 games either cancelled or rained out and I truly believe this team might have won 50 or more games,” Brown said. “Special thanks to Brandon Wilson and Chris Lane who were much more than assistants. They pitched batting practice and hit infield before every game.
“I am proud of what we accomplished and every player made major contributions to our success. I wish all the seniors a great start in their college careers.”
And the future is bright, as 14 of the 22 players will return next season, which has Brown looking forward to another big season.