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NTL BASEBALL: ALLEN, BIG BATS LEAD TROY PAST SOUTHERN COLUMBIA FOR DISTRICT WIN (2024-05-20)

BY CHRIS MANNING
Northern Tier Sports Report
EAST TROY — Troy coach Lyle Wesneski couldn’t have drawn up a better game. Camden Allen was one hit away from being perfect from the mound, the Trojans pounded out 15 hits from the plate, and the game was over just in time for Wesneski to get to Canton to hand out some wrestling awards as Troy rolled past Southern Columbia, 10-0 in six innings, during District IV, Class AA baseball quarterfinal action Monday.

“We knew their ace was legit,” said Wesneski. “We’ve been preparing for him since last Tuesday, and we knew we were going to get him. The kids have just been grinding in the cages, in the field, they came in with a game plan, and they executed it perfectly.”


After giving up a hit to the first batter of the game Allen retired the next 18 batters he faced, taking nine of them himself with strikeouts. 


“I wanted to get ahead early, and throw the off speed towards the end,” Allen said. “Mix it up well, and change pitches.”


He finished at 76 pitches, burning him for the semifinal on Wednesday against South Williamsport, which will be played at 4:30 p.m. at Mansfield University. Still, performances don’t get more dominating than that, as threw 54 strikes.


“They didn’t really touch the fastball,” Allen said. “When I landed the curveball it was good. The slider was working both righty and lefty. I threw the change-up three times.”


Camryn Harwick (3-for-3) was perfect from the plate, scoring three runs, as Lincoln Chimics (3-for-4) had 3-RBI with two runs scored.


Reed Palmer (3-for-4) had two doubles, 2-RBI, and a run scored, with Brendan Gilliland (3-for-4) getting one double with two runs scored.


Clayton Smith (2-for-4) scored twice as Jackson Taylor (1-for-2) knocked in three runs. Joseph Frye scored a run and had 2-RBI, as well.


“I think after they lost to Canton they just found their happy place and relaxed,” Wesneski said. “Then, all of a sudden, we just started pounding the ball. We’ve been consistently putting up double digits against good teams, not just cupcake teams. And it’s a 1-through-9 effort, when three and four doesn’t get it done, 6-7-8 picks us up; if six and seven are struggling, eight and nine pick us up. That’s just team baseball, you pick each other up - somebody’s on one night, somebody’s off one night, you’ve just got to find a way.”


Harwick, in particular, has bounced around the line-up as he’s struggled to find his bat, but had no problems finding it on Monday.


“I haven’t been hitting the best all year but I’ve been hitting my stride recently,” he said. 


Him, Chimics, Frye, and Taylor have been doing a good job of producing runs at the bottom of the order so there’s no breaks for the other team when they’re out on the field.


“We had two outs a couple times where we just kept hitting the ball,” Harwick said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do all year, timely hitting and hitting with two outs.”


The win also gives them the rubber match with Southern Columbia this school year. The Tigers got them in the district final for football, Troy won the district semifinal in basketball, and now the Trojans got them in the district opener for baseball.


“We were actually talking about that,” said Allen. “It’s baseball, anything can happen. They’re great in football, they’re great in every sport but it definitely feels good to get a first round win, especially against a team like that.”


The Trojans scored in every inning but the first, really breaking the game open with a 4-run third.


Chimics got things going with a 1-out hit in the bottom of the second, followed up by a Harwick double.


A ground ball by Frye was bobbled by the second baseman, allowing Chimics to score to make it 1-0.


Taylor then squeeze bunted Harwick in for the 2-0 lead.


In the fourth Smith and Gilliland had back to back singles. Palmer then drove in Smith with a ball to the fence for a double, making it 3-0.


After an out Chimics singled in Gilliland and Palmer to make it 5-0. 


Harwick singled to keep the inning going, then Frye brought in Chimics with a sacrifice fly for the 6-0 lead.


Trojans would push one across in the fourth with two outs as Gilliland nearly put one out of the park, hitting the fence in the air for a double.


Palmer then fisted one over the second baseman’s head for a single, scoring Gilliland for the 7-0 lead.


The Trojans continued to score with two outs in the fifth as Harwick had a single, followed by Frye reaching on an error. 


Harwick later scored on a balk, then Frye scored on another Tiger error to make it 9-0.


Smith would lead off the sixth with a hit, followed by Palmer rocking another double two batters later.


Southern would get a second out as they tried to keep the game alive, but a Chimics hit brought in Smith for the mercy rule win.


Wesneski felt this was a good win up and down his roster.


“It was an all-around team effort, even the young kids,” he said. “I want to give them a shout out. This time of year they come in here, they’re doing their job getting us ready. They’re in the dugout bringing the energy. I keep telling them, ‘your day is coming. This is the hard part, we’ve all been there.’ So hats off to them, this is huge for them to experience this type of game, these type of playoff games, this atmosphere, and it’s just going to springboard these guys to continue to improve and get better.”


Now they get the Mounties, a team they lost to 8-2 earlier in the season. 


“We’re not even the same team we were on game three, not even close,” Wesneski said. 


They still have Palmer and Harwick left to throw, and Wesneski feels they’re be just as ready as Allen was Monday.


“We’re going to go with our two and three,” said Wesneski. “With the way I look at it, all three of them are equal, so we’re ready.”


South beat Muncy, 8-2, in their district opener Saturday, so expect a good one.


“We’re going to go in there with a lot of confidence,” Wesneski said. “We’re going to go in there with a lot of energy, and we’re going to go in there and have a lot of fun. We’re going to play ball, we’re going to play seven hard innings, and we’ll see what happens.”


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PHOTO CAPTION: Troy’s Camden Allen delivers to home…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING






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