May 14, 2024 at 11:09 p.m.

Indians move on

FRHS tops Waynesfield-Goshen in sectional opener 5-2
Fort Recovery High School senior Troy Homan sling a pitch during the sectional opener against Waynesfield-Goshen on Tuesday. Homan struck out the side looking in the sixth inning in the 5-2 win over the Tigers. (The Commercial Review/Andrew Balko)
Fort Recovery High School senior Troy Homan sling a pitch during the sectional opener against Waynesfield-Goshen on Tuesday. Homan struck out the side looking in the sixth inning in the 5-2 win over the Tigers. (The Commercial Review/Andrew Balko)

FORT RECOVERY — Troy Homan already had a strong day at the plate when he was called on to take over on the mound.

Sporting a three-run lead, he just needed to secure six outs to earn the save and get the Indians to the next round.

His sixth-inning performance was nothing short of dominant and he got the job done in the seventh as well.

Troy Homan led the sixth-seeded Fort Recovery High School baseball team’s offense and closed out the game on the mound Thursday as the Indians down the 11th-seeded Waynesfield-Goshen Tigers 5-2 in the OHSAA Division IV Northwest 3 Sectional opener.

“A win in the tournament is a win, so we’re just happy we did what we need to do to move on,” FRHS coach Kevin Eyink said. “With the conditions and the way things were, I think we played pretty well. A couple of things we would like to see cleaned up for the next round but obviously we’re happy we did what we needed to do.”

The win earns Fort Recovery (11-12) a date in the sectional championship against No. 2 seed Crestview at 5 p.m. today.

Homan had an all-around strong performance for the Indians.

When he came in to pitch in the sixth inning, his team boasted a 5-2 lead. The senior leader faced the bottom three batters in the order and each of them suffered a similar result — a strikeout looking.

“I was just feeling good in warm ups,” he said. “I just told myself, ‘If I hit the zone, these guys are gonna make plays behind.’ I was able to hit zones and get some swings and misses and that brought energy to the team and that’s what we needed at that time.”

Homan didn’t have as dominant of a seventh inning on the bump, but despite a pair of singles, he got out without any damage. A strikeout swinging and a pair of groundouts earned him the save and the Indians the victory over the Tigers (8-9).

Homan also found a decent bit of success with the bat. It started with a leadoff double on a hot shot past Jay Carter at first base in the first inning. Two batters later, he came around to score on Caden Homan’s double to deep center field.

In Troy Homan’s second at bat, he smacked an RBI-single up the middle that scored Gavin Faller.

“I was just seeing the ball well coming in,” Troy Homan said. “As the season’s gone on, I’ve adjusted to not try and pull everything, but just put the ball in play and use the whole field. So, that’s what I’ve been doing lately and it’s been working for me.”

Alongside the Homans, Reece Wendel put together a solid day at the plate with an RBI double and a single.

The Indians scored a run in the first, third and fifth innings and two in the second.

Reece Wendel of the FRHS baseball team makes a sliding catch in left field to save a run during the Indians' 5-2 victory over Waynesfield-Goshen in the Division IV sectional opener on Tuesday. Wendel tallied two hits and an RBI to help the Indians advance to the sectional title against Crestview. (The Commercial Review/Andrew Balko)

 

On the flip side, the Tigers struggled to find success with the sticks, despite some hard-hit balls.

They finished with four hits and only one RBI. Garrett Stump ended with two hits and a run, and Keaghan McKercher drove in the run.

“Their pitchers did a really good job,” WGHS coach Josh Spencer said. “Defensively, they made some nice plays.

“Early it seemed like we were able to get the bat on the ball, we had a couple of nice hits in the gap that they ran down. It felt like it took everything we had and a lot of things had to go our way to scratch a couple of runs across.”

Rex Leverette picked up the win after 3 1/3 innings of one-run baseball. He only gave up a pair of base knocks and hit two batters while striking out four. Alex Gaerke relieved Leverette and surrendered three walks and gave up an unearned run.

Both of the Tigers’ runs came on a series of mistakes by FRHS.

In the second inning, Stump reached base by getting hit by Leverette. He advanced to second base on a passed ball and third on Carter’s single. He scored as a result of Gaerke walking McKercher.

The third-inning run came as the result of a walk and two passed balls.

While Eyink wants to see his team clean up some of those mistakes, he’s still thrilled with the win and happy to secure it without needing to use his ace, Alex Dues.

Now all that’s left is to travel to Convoy and take on the Knights for a chance at Fort Recovery’s first sectional title since 2019.

“We’re going to have to play clean, no mistakes,” Eyink said. “Everybody’s confident with Alex on the mound. Hopefully we can keep the bats going. If we can hit like that, I feel like we have a good chance to win.”

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