TERRE HAUTE —
Two buses were already heading north by late Friday afternoon as Moline, Ill., and Ash Port, Wis., were eliminated from American Legion baseball’s Great Lakes National Regional at Bob Warn Field.
Forgive the players and coaches of Wayne Newton Post 346 for breathing sighs of relief at the outcome of Friday’s first elimination game. Moline, which lost 2-1 in 10 innings to Plover, Wis., has been a nemesis of the Terre Haute team for several years.
Friday’s second game wasn’t as close, as Midland, Mich., defeated Ash Port — a Green Bay area post — to send Wisconsin’s other representative home.
Midland (45-6), which lost to Terre Haute in Thursday’s late game, comes back for today’s noon contest against the loser of Friday’s first winners’ bracket game between Princeton and Napoleon, Ohio. Plover (38-9) meets the loser of Friday’s late game between Post 346 and Edwardsville, Ill., at 4 p.m., with the last two unbeaten teams playing today’s third contest.
The Post 346-Edwardsville contest did not make the Tribune-Star’s deadline. Please see tribstar.com for a report.
Moline outhit Plover 10-6 in Friday’s opener and also had the only extra-base hit of the contest, but Plover pitcher Cal Giese didn’t walk a batter in a 10-inning complete game.
Catcher Mitch Mallek of Plover didn’t have a hit but scored both his team’s runs. He walked in the fourth inning and eventually scored when Moline couldn’t turn a double play on a one-out, bases-loaded grounder, then bunted into a fielder’s choice after Ryan Mukuski’s leadoff single in the bottom of the 10th and stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a hit by Cale Pieczynski. Sterling King was 2 for 3 for the winners.
Drew Owens was 3 for 4, Matt Brill 2 for 4 with an RBI, Parker Jasper 2 for 4, Kevin O’Keefe 2 for 5 and Mitch Peterson 1 for 4 with a double for Moline (36-13).
Midland scored in each of the first three innings and never trailed in the second game. Larry Wood struck out 11 batters in seven innings while Alex Goodwin was 3 for 3 with a triple and three RBIs; Chase Krager 3 for 4 with two RBIs; Josh Moody 3 for 4 with two runs; Steel O’Boyle 1 for 3 with two RBIs; and Keegan Akin was 1 for 5 with an RBI.
Ash Port (30-9) cut the lead to one run with a three-run third inning that included a two-run double by Bret Neuville and an RBI single by Kyle Mrozinski, who was 4 for 4 with a double, but otherwise didn’t threaten.
Princeton rallied in the ninth inning of Friday night’s opener but fell short 6-3.
The Indiana state champions had been behind 6-0 after three innings and trailed 6-1 heading into the last inning, but a pair of errors enabled them to get the tying run to the plate in the form of 275-pound slugger Dillon Whitten.
Whitten, nephew of former Indiana State star Casey Whitten, was hit in the helmet to load the bases and bring the winning run to the plate, but Colton Martin — after getting two earlier hits — grounded to third baseman Dom Gentile, Napoleon’s best defender.
Zach Willeman pitched 8 1/3 strong innings for Napoleon (43-18) while Reid Renollet was 2 for 3; Austin Hancock and Tyler Torrez both 2 for 4; and Michael Gilliland and Zach Fielder both 2 for 5. Torrez had a double, and Dylan Hendricks scored two runs.
Jared Melliff was 2 for 3 and Martin 2 for 4 with a double for Princeton (26-13). Princeton plays Midland at noon today while Napoleon advances to today’s third game.