MATTOON, Ill. -- The Wayne Newton Post 346 American Legion baseball team held off a late rally on Sunday afternoon to top Midland, Mich. by a 10-6 score to remain alive in the Great Lakes Regional in Mattoon, Ill.
Post 346 scored early and often, building an 8-0 lead through three innings, but had to hold off a five-run rally by Midland in the bottom of the ninth inning to get the victory.
Northview's Zac Niehaus played a big role on the offensive side, drilling a home run to go with two singles and drove in three runs while scoring three times in the victory.
Niehaus got Post 346 on the board in the second inning with a two-run blast to leftfield that brought in Doug Collett, who had singled.
Wayne Newton blew open the game with a six-run third inning that appeared to give them plenty of breathing room.
Jacob Hayes smacked a one-out single up the middle and West Vigo's Tyler Wampler added a single to right field. Midland hurler, Chad Mayle, was able to strike out Terre Haute South slugger, AJ Reed, for the second out, but Michael Eberle ripped a single through the left side for an RBI to start the rally. Parker Fulkerson showed off his speed by beating out an infield single to third base to load the sacks for Collett.
Collett responded by ripping a three-run double to empty the bases and give Post 346 a 6-0 lead. Niehaus then came to the plate and added a single and moved to second on an error by Midland third baseman, Larsen Cronkright. Josh Dove made Midland pay for the miscue with an RBI double to bring Niehaus around to score.
Meanwhile, Shawn Walker was keeping Midland at bay during his eight innings of work, allowing just one earned run and six hits.
Post 346 added to its lead in the fifth frame as Eberle led off with a double and came around to score on a single by Fulkerson, who moved to second on an error by the leftfielder and then to third on a miscue by the catcher. Mayle was able to limit any more damage by getting Collett and Niehaus via strikeout and Dove via a groundout to end the threat.
The final Wayne Newton run came in the eighth inning as Niehaus led off with a single to right and Dove reached on a fielder's choice and Niehaus moved on to third on an error by the first baseman.
With no outs in the inning, Andrew Gauer's single brought Niehaus home for a 10-1 Post 346 lead.
The ninth inning got a bit hairy for Post 346 as John Patterson came on in relief and allowed a leadoff single by Cronkright and a walk to clean-up hitter, Cole Martin. Patterson then balked to move both runners into scoring position before walking the bases loaded via a free pass to Brent Precour.
Still with no outs in the inning, Patterson hit Eric Peterson to bring in the second run of the game by Midland. The free pass was the final pitch by Patterson as Dove came on to try and close out the game.
Jordon Herman reached on a fielder's choice grounder, but a throwing error complicated things as Precour came in to score as Post 346 got Martin trying to score at home.
Runners remained at second and third and Jordan Schuman followed with an RBI groundout to second. With two outs and a 10-5 lead, it looked as if Wayne Newton was ready to close the victory out, however, Adam Pijaszek followed with an RBI single and Keaton Frymier moved him to third with a single to right. Alex Albrecht brought home another run with a single to bring home Pijaszek before Dove recorded the final out by strikeout to give Post 346 the victory.
In the Great Lakes Regional, Niehaus has hit .438 in four games and 16 at-bats. The Northview senior has gone 7-for-16 with five RBI, a double, triple and a home run and has scored five times.
The win moves Post 346 on to face Moline, Ill. this afternoon at noon Eastern time.