News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

July 22, 2013

Post 346 survives Clinton

TH finally solves off-speed pitching

TERRE HAUTE — Clinton Post 140’s pitching strategy worked against Terre Haute Wayne Newton Post 346 twice this season. But the second time it didn’t result in a victory.

Limited to just six hits by Clinton’s Jake Amstutz and T.J. Terry, Wayne Newton put two hits together with the only error of a well-played game to pull out a 2-1 victory Sunday in the American Legion Baseball Sectional.

The victory puts Wayne Newton (30-10) in the championship game at 5 p.m. today at North’s Don Jennings Field.

Clinton (14-10) was scheduled to play the winner of the Sullivan-Washington game at 8 p.m. Sunday in the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

Both teams that play tonight advance to the regional tournament Friday, Saturday and next Sunday at Terre Haute North.

“[Clinton] brought it to us, they really did,” Wayne Newton coach John Hayes said while preparing the diamond for Sunday’s second game. “Clinton played a really fine baseball game. It’s just a shame somebody had to lose that game. I’m glad we won, but I feel sorry for them because I know how hard they played, and they could have won the game very easily.”

The tournament was delayed one day by Saturday’s rain storm. The game was suspended in the bottom of the third with Clinton holding a 1-0 lead. Cole Morgan’s half-swing single into right field had scored Kam Weyrauch, who received the only walk given up by Wayne Newton’s Damon Olds.

That one run looked pretty solid as Wayne Newton batters struggled against the off-speed pitching of Amstutz and Terry. Of the 24 outs Wayne Newton made over eight innings, 18 came on fly balls.

“[Those pitches] probably looked as big as basketballs to my hitters. It’s very difficult after you’ve seen good, hard pitching to try to hit that kind of stuff. But, hand it to them, it was a great game plan,” Hayes said.

“When we beat Wayne Newton earlier [in the season],” Clinton coach Ron Alabaugh, “we went with the same pitching duo and kept them way off-balance. We got a lot of fly balls, and those two pitchers today kept us right in the ball game. You give up two runs to a team like that you did a pretty good job, so I was happy with our pitching.

On the other side of the diamond, Wayne Newton’s Damon Olds struck out 11 batters and got 11 out on ground balls. Olds went the distance, giving up one earned run while allowing six hits. Olds retired the last seven batters of the game in a row without a strike out.

“Our defense did a great job. You couldn’t ask for better,” Olds said.

Wayne Newton tied the score 1-1 in the fourth when Connor Pierce, who scored both Post 346 runs, received a two-out walk. Craig Peters chased him around to third base with a double. Zach Milam was walked, loading the bases for Pete Lannoo, who was hit by a pitch, and that tied the game 1-1.

“After these fast pitchers we have been seeing, mid-to high 80s [mph], it’s a big difference coming down,” Pierce said.

The score remained tied 1-1 until the bottom of the eighth inning.

Pierce led off the eighth with a single and was bunted to second by Peters. Milam hit a long, slicing fly ball to left field that Clinton’s Morgan caught as he fell. Pierce tagged up and moved to third base.

Clinton appealed that Pierce did not go back to the base after Morgan’s catch.

“From our angle, it appeared [Pierce] was not there in time, but the umpires have their own opinion and it went the other way,” Alabaugh said.

Pierce scored when Lannoo hit a line drive that bounced off the tip of the third baseman’s glove and into left field.

It was a game of strategy and inches for Wayne Newton and Clinton.

“I told my boys after the game, hold your heads high because you just played one of the toughest teams in a great ball game. We don’t have anything to be ashamed about. I’m happy with what we did today. I wish we could have come out on the other side of it,” Alabaugh said.

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