TERRE HAUTE —
The American Legion Baseball Sectional opens this week and coach John Hayes is wondering if the Terre Haute Wayne Newton Post 346 can win two games in a row.
Post 346 split a doubleheader with Princeton Post 25 on Sunday at Terre Haute North High School, winning the first game 10-3 and then losing the second 6-1. Post 346 has split its last four doubleheaders.
“This has been a re-occurring theme of ours. We play real well the first game then we just kind of go through the motions the second game. Hopefully we’ll have some guys wake up and realize you got to come and play every pitch of every inning and every game, not just when you feel like it,” Hayes said.
Post 346 will wrap up the regular season at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against Danville, Ill., then Thursday will host Sullivan in the opening game of sectional play at Terre Haute North.
Damon Olds gutted out a victory on the mound for Post 346 in game one. He struck out 10, walked seven, scattered six Princeton hits and gave up just one earned run.
Terre Haute took advantage of Princeton’s sloppy first inning to build a 3-0 lead. Post 346 scored runs on one hit, two Princeton errors, a hit batter and a walk.
Post 346 added two runs in the third when Jacob Johnson reached base on a fielder’s choice ground ball, Craig Peters singled down the right field line and on a well executed hit-and-run, Connor Pierce singled to left field to score Johnson and Peters moved to third. Peters scored when Princeton misplayed T.J. Decker’s ground ball.
Terre Haute put the game away with a five-run sixth inning, keyed by Lane Dransfield’s triple off the right field fence, the only extra base hit of the entire day.
Preston Tofaute and Peters each connected two two-run base hits and Brock had a single.
Princeton’s half of the seventh winning should have been a warning for Terre Haute. Trailing 10-2, with second seven-inning contest ahead, Princeton came fighting back with consecutive singles to start the inning.
The visitors scored one run before Olds struck out a batter for the first out.
But Post 346 ended the game on a well executed 3-6-1 double play – first baseman Brock fielded the ground ball and threw to second base for the out and shortstop Johnson fired the ball back to Olds at first for the final out.
“The second game we made mistakes both offensively and defensively that just shot us in the foot. You can’t do that. Our focus has got to be better. We have to have better concentration,” Hayes said.
Post 346 committed two errors and losing pitcher Austin Hicks, who was brilliant against Washington last week, hit four batters and gave up seven hits.
Princeton scored three runs on two hits in the third inning and three runs on three hits in the fourth.
Princeton pitcher Dillon Whitten, who just finished his first year at Vincennes University, held Post 346 to just four hits – Peters two, Pete Lannoo and Dransfield one base hit each – mixing a good fastball with a nasty breaking pitch.
“[Whitten] pitched a really nice ball game against us. He did a really good job,” Hayes said.
Hayes and Post 346 will try to win Tuesday night against Danville.