PIQUA — Triad drew first blood, but Fort Loramie rallied and beat the Cardinals, 7-4, in a Division IV sectional baseball final on Wednesday at Hardman Field.
Triad was a little sluggish to start the game, but scored first anyway, pushing across a run in the bottom of the third with a shot from Dustin Bruce that scored Alec Ober from third base.
The score remained 1-0 until the fifth inning, when Fort Loramie strung a couple of hits together and piggy-backed off of a pair of Triad errors to prolong the inning and plate three runs.
“Great job by Fort Loramie. They’re a younger group and for them to come out and put the ball in play the way they did, it was just a great job,” Triad Coach Gary Davis said. “We had some mental mistakes, some errors in the field, that will kill any team, regardless of what the score is. You’ve got to play the game and play solid. Fort Loramie is infamous for capitalizing on errors.”
Triad responded to cut the lead to a single run in the bottom of the frame, using a leadoff double by Isaiah Bruce to set the table and another double by Ober to drive him in.
For Triad, Trevor Instine also doubled in the game.
Fort Loramie put another three runs on the board in the sixth inning, but Triad responded with a pair of runs to stay within striking distance.
“That senior class is a bunch of hard-nosed baseball players. They’re a tremendous group and it just didn’t bounce our way tonight,” Davis said.
Senior Shane Ford, who had a superlative run in the postseason last season, battled the Fort Loramie lineup and also a lower abdominal-area injury, which he had formerly revealed may be a small hernia. He pitched six strong innings regardless and was lifted in the seventh for Bruce, trading him spots at second base.
The visiting squad tacked on another run in the seventh and although Triad was finally fired up, the Cardinals came alive too late and went scoreless in the bottom of the inning.
It was a bitter loss for a squad that returned much of the talent from a year ago, when it finished runner-up in the state.
“The guys have tremendous heart. We’ll be back. That’s definitely still unfinished business,” Davis said. “It’ll continue to stay that way in these guys’ heads, I’m sure. But they’re a great group of baseball kids and the goal is to bring home that gold trophy – eventually.”
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.