TERRE HAUTE —
Preston Tofaute got on base enough to score three runs, Cody Thornton smashed a two-run triple in the first inning and pitcher Pete Lannoo scattered four hits over a seven-inning complete game.
All of that helped Wayne Newton Post 346 down Lafayette Post 11 by a 7-2 score in the opener of the Terre Haute Inviatational tournament for American Legion baseball Thursday afternoon at Terre Haute North High School.
On Thursday evening, Evansville Pate knocked off Bristol 9-5 in the second game. The Post 346 vs. Plymouth Post 27 matchup, which started slightly later than the advertised 8:30 p.m., ended before 11 with Wayne Newton winning 2-0.
Against roster-challenged Lafayette, Post 346 delivered nine hits and took advantage of five errors.
“We hadn’t been moving the ball real well [before Thursday], but today its looks like we swung the bats a little bit better,” Wayne Newton manager John Hayes told the Tribune-Star. “I don’t think we had a lot of strikeouts [actually zero], so that’s a good sign. If we can keep it that way, we’ll be in good shape.”
Meanwhile, Lafayette manager Dan Yeoman offered his assessment of Lannoo’s four-hit, six-strikeout perfomance.
“He did OK,” Yeoman said. “He kept the ball down pretty well.
“But we only have nine guys here. We have a 10th [player] who can’t throw anything right now. He can hit if we need him to … but he can’t throw for another three to six months. That is my sub.”
Yeoman mentioned that he’ll have five players coming from the Lafayette Central Catholic High School team that squares off against Vincennes Rivet for the Class A state championship Saturday, but their addition won’t take place until after this tourney is over.
Hayes said Lannoo may have gotten a bit tired in the top of the seventh inning when he allowed the 7-8-9 batters to lead off with singles and issued a bases-loaded walk to Kyle Mitchell to produce Lafayette’s second run.
“But I thought Pete did a really good job today,” Hayes added.
Thornton’s triple, which sailed over the right fielder’s head and came two outs after Jacob Johnson and Tofaute reached base with a single and walk respectively, put Post 346 ahead 2-0.
The host team used three unearned runs off Lafayette starting pitcher Branden Kuxhausen in the third to boost its advantage to 5-0. One out after Tofaute’s lead-off single, Sam Wolf and Thornton reached on errors, with Tofaute touching home on the second miscue. After the second out of the frame, Cody Brock reached on an error, enabling Wolf to touch home. Then T.J. Decker reached on yet another E, which plated Thornton.
Lafayette finally touched Lannoo for a run in the fifth to pull within 5-1. With one out, Vernon Ford walked and stole second base. Then Mitchell reached on a fielder’s choice, with Ford ending up on third, and Brennan Argo sac-bunted Ford home.
But Hayes’ squad tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth, padding its cushion to 7-1. This mini-outburst off reliever Mark Fisher start with Tofaute doubling over the right fielder’s head and Zach Milam singling. Wolf followed by grounding an RBI single through the left side of the infield and Connor Pierce sent home Milam with a double to deep right-center.
“That’s what this team is about — just getting on and let the next man come up and do his job,” Tofaute pointed out. “We just put the ball in play and play hard and let our offense work.”
Hayes and Tofaute agreed afterward that it was a relief to chalk up a triumph in the first game of the tournament.
“If you get that first one out of the way,” Hayes said, “it makes it easier for [Thursday night’s] game.”
“It’s a great start,” Tofaute noted. “Getting the first win is always big in a tournament. You don’t want to get in that losers’ bracket.”
In Thursday’s nightcap, Damon Olds pitched the seven-inning shutout and Greg Hannum and Milam each walked with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to provide the only runs.
W. Newton Post 346 7, Lafayette Post 11 2
LAFAYETTE POST 11 (AB-R-H-BI) — Mitchell 3b 3-0-0-1, Argo c 3-0-0-1, Curry ss 4-0-0-0, Funk cf 2-0-0-0, Rudman 1b 3-0-0-0, B.Kuxhausen p-rf 3-0-1-0, Fisher 2b-p 3-1-1-0, H.Kuxhausen rf-2b 2-0-1-0, Ford lf 2-1-1-0. TOTALS 25-2-4-2.
WAYNE NEWTON POST 346 (AB-R-H-BI) — Johnson 2b 4-1-1-0, Tofaute c 3-3-2-0, Milam 3b 3-1-2-0, Wolf 1b 4-1-1-1, Thornton rf 4-1-1-2, Pierce lf 4-0-1-1, Brock dh 4-0-1-0, Lannoo p 0-0-0-0, Decker ss 3-0-0-0, Dransfield cf 2-0-0-0. TOTALS 31-7-9-4.
Lafayette 000 010 0 — 2
Wayne Newton Post 346 203 002 x — 7
E — Tofaute, Milam, Ford, B.Kuxhausen, Curry, Fisher, Mitchell. DP — Wayne Newton 1. LOB — Lafayette 7, Wayne Newton 10. 2B — B.Kuxhausen, Brock, Tofaute, Pierce. 3B — Thornton. SH — Milam, Argo. SB — Johnson 2, Thornton, Milam, Ford, Decker.
Lafayette IP H R ER BB SO
B.Kuxhausen (L, 0-1) 5 5 5 2 2 0
Fisher 1 4 2 2 0 0
Wayne Newton IP H R ER BB SO
Lannoo (W, 1-0) 7 4 2 2 3 6
WP — Lannoo 2. HBP — by B.Kuxhausen (Dransfield). Catcher’s interference — Tofaute.
Next — Post 346 (6-1 after defeating Plymouth) will take on Bristol at 8:30 tonight. Lafayette fell to 2-6.