Post 346 splits opening tourney games
By MATT MCKINNEY
Times Staff Reporter
TERRE HAUTE -- Even after a four-year baseball career at Northview, TJ Decker still wasn't finished with the sport. Decker started on the mound for Wayne Newton Post 346 Thursday night, but couldn't get the job done on the mound as his team fell to Plymouth American Legion Post 27, 5-3.
Decker started the game hot, striking out the first six batters he saw at the plate. But Post 27's starting pitcher, James Hackworth, nearly matched him strike-for-strike. Hackworth struck out four batters in the first pair of innings.
In the top of the third, Decker gave up a walk to begin the inning, then Post 346 allowed a pair of base runners due to errors. Post 27's centerfielder, Eric Knepper recorded the game's first official hit, an RBI double. Post 27 would add two more runs to take a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Post 346 tried to respond with its own offensive showing. Preston Tofaute hit a double, then Zach Milam sent him to third with a single. With just one out and runners at the corners, Post 346 looked to be in prime scoring position. However, the next two batters struck out, leaving Tofaute and Milam stranded.
Decker's team was finally able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth.
The first three batters reached base, loading the bases with no outs. Jimmy Maxwell grounded into a double play, but two runs would eventually score.
"I thought TJ Decker pitched an excellent ballgame," Post 346 manager John Hayes said. "We didn't help him very much, we kind of kicked it around a couple times. We couldn't get a base hit with guys in scoring position. But overall, it could've been worse. We can't win them all. We'll be alright."
Down 3-2 entering the seventh, Post 346 didn't make the end of the game easy for themselves as they gave up two more runs in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh with the score 5-2, Post 346's Daniel Marlow walked, then was called out on a fielder's choice play, with Tofaute reaching first. Milam hit a single, and Scott West walked. Cody Thornton came up to bat with his team down three, bases loaded and one out. He hit a fielder's choice single that allowed Marlow to score. The next batter, Colton Rupska, grounded out, ending the game.
Despite taking the loss, Hayes was still confident about the Northview graduate.
"(Decker) got a little behind, he got in a little bit of a hurry at times and he'd have trouble throwing strikes. He's doing fine. He's a good pitcher. We like him a lot."
The afternoon got off to a good start for Post 346 as Scott West and Dalton Sexton each had four hits and West drove in six runs as Wayne Newton won 13-3 over Lafayette Post 11 in the Terre Haute Tourney opener.
Post 346 got off to a good start in the opening inning as Northview graduate and Indiana State signee, Kodie Girton, drew a walk to open the game and stole second. He moved to third on a grounder by Cody Thornton and came in to score when the ball was misplayed. Thornton would score on a looping single by Tony Rosselli.
Post 346 played add on in the second inning as Lanoo drew a lead off walk, Sexton singled and Girton advanced both runners with a sacrifice. West then drilled a long fly ball to left field that was misplayed and went for a ground-rule double that scored two runs.
Wayne Newton's Damon Olds, who struck out 12 in his six innings of work, gave up a pair of runs in the top of the third to cut the Post 346 lead in half.
The home team's offense picked up its pitcher in the bottom of the third inning as back-to-back singles set the plate and Girton loaded the bases when he drew a walk. West then made Lafayette's pitcher pay by smacking a bases clearing double for a 7-2 lead.
Northview junior-to-be Connor Pierce helped add to the lead with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and Girton would later score his fourth run of the game to push the lead to 13-3 and end the contest via the 10-run rule.
Wayne Newton (7-3) takes on Evansville this evening at 6:30 p.m.
Terre Haute Tournament
At Terre Haute North
|Lafayette Post 11||002||100||-||3||5||3|
|Wayne Newton Post 346||223||402||-||13||12||3|
2B -- Post 346 (West 2), Post 11 (Hieatt). SB -- Post 346 (Girton, Thornton), Post 11 (Tislow 2).
|Lafayette Post 11||IP||H||R||ER||BB||K|
2B -- Post 346 (Tofaute), Post 27 (E. Knepper), HR -- Post 346 (None), Post 27 (Dickman), SB -- Post 346 (None), Post 27 (Anson)