Northern Tier Sports Report
EAST TROY — For a while there Canton may have been wondering if they were cursed. After giving up back to back walk-off losses it looked like it might happen again as Troy cut it to a 1-run game. However, a strong seventh inning from the Warriors allowed them to hold on to a 9-7 win to stay undefeated in NTL baseball action Tuesday.

“It’s awesome, it’s exciting,” Canton coach Ben Rubert said. “We’ve managed to be in a close game every game this year so I guess I’m used to being on the edge of my seat on the bucket.”

Canton jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first, then pushed it as far as 8-3 going into the bottom of the sixth. The Trojans rallied with four runs then to cut it to 8-7.

Canton got some breathing room with a run in the top of the seventh, then closed things out by keeping Troy off the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning.

The win keeps Canton undefeated in league play and on top of the NTL Small School Division, while Troy suffers their first league loss but still leads the NTL Large School Division.

They got a strong outing from ace Holden Ward, who went 5 1/3-innings to get the win, striking out seven with two walks, eight hits, and five runs, one of which was earned. 

“He was lights out, and he worked well with his pitch count,” said Rubert. “He got us deep into the game, and it helped Zach (Colton), too, at the end, so Holden was incredible.”

Colton went the final 1 2/3-innings with no strikeouts or walks, three hits, and two unearned runs.

“We’ve struggled our past few games in getting ahead (of the count) and staying ahead,” Rubert said. “My pitching was great tonight.”

Though Troy out hit Canton in the game errors and missed opportunities were the theme of the night as they had six errors and left nine runners on base.

“I told them we just really forced ourselves, in a game that’s 21 outs, we forced ourselves to get 30,” said Troy coach Lyle Wesneski. “Against good teams like Canton, and they’re gritty, they were going to hang around and they just scrap, we can’t force our pitchers to get five, six outs an inning.”

Starter Camden Allen took the loss, going five innings with six strikeouts, seven hits, to walks, and six runs, two of which were earned.

Reed Palmer tossed the final two innings, allowing two hits, two walks, and three runs, two of which were earned.

“I’m not an excuse maker but we just need to start playing,” Wesneski said. “If we can get some weather and play. We play a game, and then we sit for a week, so we just need to play. I was proud of our pitchers, Cam and Reed both scrapped on the mound, they grounded for us on the mound. We cut down our base on balls to four, somewhere in there, because that was an Achilles heel before, but it’s just little things.”

At the plate for Canton Holden Ward (2-for-3) had a run scored and an RBI while Ben Fitch (2-for-2) had a double with a run scored, and 2-RBI.

Bailey Gardner (1-for-4) had a double with a run scored, as Colton (1-for-3) scored three times and drove in a run.

Michael Beers (1-for-4) had 2-RBI with Cohen Landis (1-for-3) hitting a double with a run scored.

Hudson Ward (1-for-4) scored, and had an RBI, with Mason Harold driving in two runs, and Jason Mahosky scoring.

“Guys stepped up and came through when we needed guys to score,” Rubert said. “I think the first inning we score four, and then we would find a way to push one or two across.”

Lincoln Chimics (3-for-4) had the hot bat for Troy, going 3-for-4 with 2-RBI, and a run scored, as Allen (2-for-4) had an RBI.

Clayton Smith (2-for-4) also had a multi-hit game with Camryn Harwick (1-for-3) scoring twice. Mason Smith (1-for-4) had a run scored with an RBI, while Palmer (1-for-4) knocked in two runs.

Brendan Gilliland scored twice and drove in a run with Jackson Taylor also crossing home.

“With nine left on base we’ve got to get gritty and push the ball in play,” said Wesneski. “Put pressure on their defense, but that’s where we’re at. We’re going to have a short memory.”

In an action packed opening inning Holden Ward led off with a hit followed by Hudson Ward reaching on an error. Holden Ward would later score on an error off the bat of Colton to make it 1-0.

Fitch would draw a walk, setting up Beers’ 2-run hit that scored Hudson Ward and Colton. Fitch made it 4-0 when he scored off a fielder’s choice by Harold.

Troy got two back in the bottom half of the inning as Harwick led off with a walk. Two batters later he scored on an error off the bat Gilliland. A Chimics double brought Gilliland around for a 4-2 score.

It stayed like that until the top of the fifth when Gardner hit a 1-out double, followed by a single out of Colton.

Fitch would bring both home with a hit for a 6-2 lead.

In the bottom half of the inning Gilliland and Chimics would reach, setting up Allen’s 2-out hit that scored Gilliland for a 6-3 score.

In the sixth Mahosky reached on an error, followed by Landis hitting a double. Holden Ward then brought in Mahosky with a sacrifice fly, while Hudson Ward scored Landis on a single to push their lead to five runs.

In the bottom half of the inning Taylor and Harwick would both reach with 1-out, forcing Holden Ward off the mound due to the pitch count.

Mason Smith would bring in Taylor to cut it to 8-4, but Canton would get a second out.

Troy kept the rally going as Chimics doubled in Harwick, followed by a Palmer single scoring Smith and Chimics to make it an 8-7 game.

In the seventh Colton and Fitch drew back to back walks to lead things off. After an out Harold drove in Colton with a ground out to give Canton an insurance run.

Clayton Smith would lead off the bottom of the seventh with a hit but Colton would retire the next three batters to ensure the win.

Canton (7-3) hosts Sayre on Friday while Troy (3-2) will welcome Wellsboro for a double-header on Thursday, beginning at 3 p.m.

— — 

PHOTO CAPTION: Canton’s Zach Colton rounds third to score…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING

You've asked about helping ...
here's your chance. Click HERE