Mattoon, Ill. —
Fueled by a 15-strikeout effort by pitcher A.J. Reed and a six-RBI day for first baseman Dougie Collett, Wayne Newton Post 346 defeated Moline Post 246 11-2 in the championship round of the American Legion Great Lakes baseball regional.
Post 346 (43-6) will play Moline (40-7) again at 3:15 p.m. today Eastern time. The winner will advance to the American Legion World Series which begins Friday in Spokane, Wash.
Reed was spectacular, striking out the side twice as he allowed just three hits. Reed struck out seven of the first 11 batters he faced. He went the distance and walked just one batter.
Moline's only two runs came via Post 346 errors. It was a 1-1 game when Post 346 broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning.
Post 346 had already broken the deadlock on a Tyler Wampler RBI single when Moline's fielding let it down.
Consecutive two-out errors by Moline shortstop kept Post 346 alive (and allowed one run to score) and brought Collett to the plate with the bases loaded. Collett drove a pitch that cleared the left field fence by several yards for a two-out grand slam that gave Post 346 a 7-2 lead.
Post 346 tacked on four more runs in the seventh. Collett drove two of them in with a two-run double. Run-scoring singles by Zac Niehaus and Andrew Gauer provided the rest of the scoring.
According to Post 346 manager John Hayes, Bryan Nacke will get the starting assignment for the winner-take-all second game.