ST. MARYS — The St. Marys Post 323 American Legion baseball team puts its trio of Wapakoneta grads right in the heart of its order and at the center of its hopes for success this summer.
As it opens the 2011 season, the trio of Greg Stoll, Dustin Gerlach and Kaleb Coil anchors Bill Shoffner’s team.
“We really don’t know all of our teammates yet, so it’s nice to have some teammates around,” Coil said. “Having two other guys who have big-game experience who played in a regional finals a couple years ago helps, too.”
“They’re seniors and it’s kind of expected of them,” Shoffner said. “They played in big games in high school and they were well-coached. We have some young guys, so those are our veterans. They have to carry us.”
St. Marys opened its home schedule on Monday night, falling in a slugfest.
Troy sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight runs in the fifth inning to key an 11-9 win over the St. Marys Post 323 American Legion baseball team.
Coil went 3-for-4 with a home run and three runs batted in. He deposited a 3-2 fastball over the fence in left-center to start a four-run rally for St. Marys in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Coil ended the game a triple short of the cycle.
“I don’t have a whole lot of speed,” Coil said, with a laugh, of his prospects for the cycle.
Stoll then hit a three-run home run — a rocket shot over the right field wall — in the bottom of the eighth to pull St. Marys to within two runs at 11-9.
A great defensive play by Troy ended St. Marys’ comeback hopes an inning later.
St. Marys put the first two batters on base via walks in the bottom of the ninth, but Troy reliever Austin Crain dove from the mound to catch a soft line drive right of the mound and then threw back to second base to double up Coil at second to snuff out the rally.
“It was nice to see us battle back there at the end,” Shoffner said. “That’s a risky play. He dove and if he misses it we have the bases loaded with nobody out. It was a good play that worked in their favor.”
Nick Coberly started for St. Marys and worked the first four innings before Troy’s fourth inning outburst. Coberly struck out three and gave up just two runs through his first four innings before the first four batters reached via hits in the fifth.
Chris Brazle pitched to four batters before Dustin Gerlach came in to clean up the inning. Gerlach worked three innings before Coil threw the final two frames.
St. Marys will be back at home on Thursday against Napoleon at 6 p.m.