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Post 346 begins play at Great Lakes Regional Tourney today

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Seth Lunsford

Times Sports Editor

The Wayne Newton Post 346 American Legion baseball team has made a reputation as one of the top programs in the state of Indiana under head coach John Hayes. The team captured its sixth state championship under his tutelage on Sunday afternoon, taking a 9-6 decision against Evansville Post 265 to secure the championship.

The victory improved Post 346's record this season to 39-5 overall this season and sends them into the American Legion Great Lakes Regional Tournament that begins today at Mattoon, Ill. Post 346 takes on the Minnesota state champion at 11 a.m.

In the Great Lakes Regional, there are teams from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Beginning today and running through Aug. 9, 64 American Legion teams will compete in divisional regional tournaments around the nation. Each regional tournament champion will advance to The American Legion Baseball World Series, which takes place Aug. 13-18 in Spokane, Wash.

Post 346 heads into the Great Lakes Regional on a six-game winning streak and has won 21 of its last 22 games overall.

The Wayne Newton Post has had the services of four different Northview athletes this season.

Kodie Girton
Caleb Mason, who graduated this spring and will attend Olney Central Junior College next season on a baseball scholarship, has missed much of the season after having surgery on his pitching arm again. However, Mason got off to a hot start during the season, with nine hits in just 18 at-bats to start the year. He added a triple, a home run and five RBI while reaching base nearly 60 percent of the time before his injury.

Following Mason's injury, Post 346 added Kodie Girton to the roster and he has made the most of the opportunity.

Girton has made five appearances on the mound for the team and has a 2.00 ERA and a 2-0 overall record. Girton has thrown 18 innings while allowing 15 hits, striking out 25 opponents and walking 13. Opponents have hit just .224 against Girton this summer.

Joining Girton are Northview teammates, Zac Niehaus and Seth Lunsford.

Lunsford, who was Girton's battery mate with the Knights, has shared time behind the plate for Post 346 and has done an outstanding job.

For the season, Lunsford has hit .244 overall in 86 at-bats and has added three doubles, a pair of home runs and has driven in 17 runners.

Niehaus got off to a slow start during the early stages of the summer, but he has hits in 17-of-22 games to reach the regional and has hit .279 for the season. Niehaus has added 17 doubles, which is second on the team and has four home runs while scoring 39 times. Niehaus has driven in 25 batters and is eight-for-eight in stolen bases.

Once play gets underway this afternoon, fans can follow the tournament by checking the game tracker where scores, stats and more will be posted live at: www.baseball.legion.org/baseball/gametra....