By Marc Tobias
ST. MARYS -- The St. Marys American Legion baseball team was dealt its first loss of the season when Troy was able to knock Post 323 off 11-5 last night at K.C. Geiger Park.
Troy got a solid pitching performance from its starter Troy Mercer while Josh Varno struggled for St. Marys.
Mercer allowed two runs by scattering nine hits over 62ò3 innings of work while Varno was touched up for nine runs and 11 hits in 41ò3 innings of work.
Mercer used a lot of big bending curves and off speed pitches to keep St. Marys off balance most of the day, and it wasn't until Varno hit a two-run home run in the sixth that he showed much of a chink in his armor.
"He was all-greater Dayton area, so he mixes speeds real good and that's when he's at his best," said Troy manager Frosty Brown. "He did a great job with change-ups, and to stay with St. Marys you have to have four pitches. You have to have a slider and a curve ball and you can't throw a fast ball first pitch every time because they have bonafide great hitters that can light you up." Troy got off to a nice start offensively as well with two runs in the second, including a solo-home run by Spencer Mitchell. Troy then added four runs in the third, three runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth for a 10-0 lead.
Joe Spano had home runs in the fourth and fifth innings for Troy, and he finished with a 2-for-4 day with three runs scored and five RBI.
"One (home run) was a curve ball and he's been having trouble with curve balls, although two of his last three homers have come off curve balls," Brown said of Spano's two shots. "In Varno's case his curve ball comes in from the outside so we moved all the way to the back of the batters box to wait for it to break. We weren't going to go all the way to the front of the batters box and try to hit it before it breaks because it would be outside, and you can see most of our shots were to center field. It was a good game for our guys and a big win for us confidence wise."
Kris Nealigh also had a big day at the plate for Troy, as he finished 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI, and at least five Troy players had at least two hits in the game.
"We came out hitting, we have a hitting discipline thing that were trying to graduate to," Brown said. "We're trying to do certain things in certain counts and I thought we did a much much better job then we have before."
Adam Brown had the best day at the plate for St. Marys as he finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored. Varno, Sean Boley and Alex Fuerst each picked up a pair of hits while Scott Boley hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning for the final 11-5 margin.
St. Marys will be back in action with a doubleheader on Saturday at Fairborn.