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BREMEN â€” Triton head coach Jim Shively knew it was going to be a firefight.
After an 8-4 loss to Bremen Monday in which the Lions scored runs in five innings, he didn't want to take any chances.
"Keep it going," he told his players in the dugout between innings. "They're not finished yet."
He was right.
This time it was the Trojans who plated runs in five innings with double-digit hitting and a few helpful errors by the Bremen infield, taking a 5-1 lead in the second courtesy of a grand slam by Marc Lindsey and retaking the lead with another two runs in the third after a five-run second by the Lions. The Trojans then tacked on six more runs in the fourth and fifth innings to hold off a late rally by the home team, ultimately claiming a 13-8 Northern State Conference reprisal win on the road at Bremen Tuesday.
"That's what you have to do against them; that's what you have to do against any team," said Shively. "We tend to have a decent inning here and there, and we'll go four innings without anything. Tonight anyway we kept pressure on them and we had a lot of good at-bats, which is what we needed.
"I like the way we're hitting the ball right now. We're taking a little better approach at the plate, and when a pitcher makes mistakes we're hitting it hard now, which we haven't done all year."
With their number three pitcher hurt, their number one and three hurlers having already pitched in Monday's win at Triton, and their number four set to go in another NSC contest today, the Lions were shorthanded on the mound Tuesday. Bremen's pitching staff gave up six bases on balls and fell behind in the count regularly as Triton out-hit its hosts 10-6, including doubles by Erik Hoffman, Bryson Mosier and Zak Shively, and Lindsey's one-out, go-ahead grand slam straight out to center in the top of the second that put the Trojans up 5-1 following one-run first frames by both teams, both unearned.
"I don't know where that came from," said Jim Shively of Lindsey's four-run blast. "That's the hardest he's hit the ball all year. He's normally a line drive singles hitter, but we've had a couple home runs in the past few games, and he had oneâ€¦ We're finally taking some swings with confidence up there it seems like and we're a little more relaxed at the plate."
Just when it seemed Triton had broken the game open, Bremen responded with five runs off four hits in the bottom of the second, courtesy of RBI singles from Sean Knepper and Bobby Cornett and a two-run double to the center field fence from Nate Leeper, who finished with a pair of two-base taps Tuesday.
But the Trojans continued pouring on the pressure with a pair of runs in the third as Hoffman doubled in Mosier and was scored on a ground ball to second by Cody Shively that put Triton ahead 7-6.
The Lions threatened to tie the game up again with runners on first and second and no outs in the fifth, but Wes Burkholder batted into a 5-3 double play with one out to retire the inning and end the threat.
"We couldn't get a bunt down, and that's one of our rules. It's a team game, and you have to get the bunt down," said Bremen head coach Bo Hundt. "I actually give you three chances at it, and he fouled the third one and struck out. You have to get those bunts down in that situation; you have to move runners. At that point, we're only down two runs at that time. You move those two runners over with one out, and we get a lefty up at the plate and he pulls the ball, it's a tie ball game. That was the turning point of the game, right there."
The Trojans scratched out another run in the fifth on a hit batsmen and two singles all with two outs and five more in the sixth courtesy of a two-run double from Zak Shively, a two-run single by Cody Shively and an infield error. Meanwhile, Triton pitcher Maxx Ullery settled in in the third, facing just 14 batters and giving up no runs in the next four innings.
"(Ullery) usually kind of pitches better as the game goes on, so I kind of expected that," said Jim Shively. "We talked about started to pound the strike zone a little bit. We were kind of picking at him too much a little bit early, and we decided to just start going at them and we got ahead in the counts, and he was able to pitch a little bit more."
Bremen rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh and even got the tying run on deck, but Seth Glingle was caught trying to score on a wild pitch, and Austin Gall was picked off leading off of second to end the game.
"We hit the ball decent," said Hundt. "We hit it right at them and that happens, but we've got to play defense and we've got to run the bases right. We ran the bases like a JV team today."
Triton moved to 4-6 in the conference with Tuesday's win, while Bremen moves to 5-4 in the NSC with the series split against the Trojans.
"That's what you hope when you play back-to-backs; it's kind of like a doubleheader," said Jim Shively. "If you don't win that first one you hope you get a split. It was nice to get us another win in the conference, and that puts us at four now. The goal is to finish in the top half this year if we can get there."
"We got the split; we won yesterday. We should have won today, but we just didn't play well," Hundt said. "At this point we've got New Prairie and two LaVille games â€” three more conference games this week. We just want to go out and play our game and not worry about anybody else."
â€˘Â TRITON 13, BREMEN 8
Triton: 142 015 0 â€” 13 10 5
Bremen: 150 000 2 â€” 8 6 3
Maxx Ullery (W) and Erik Hoffman; Bobby Cornett (L), Eric Knepper, Nate Leeper (6) and Austin Gall.
2B: Leeper 2 (B), Sean Knepper (B), Hoffman (T), Bryson Mosier (T), Zak Shively (T).
HR: Marc Lindsey (T).
Records: Bremen 8-11 (5-4 NSC), Triton 6-8 (4-6 NSC).