TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute Wayne Newton Post 346 finally solved the mystery of Clinton Post 140’s pitching Monday night, exploding for 13 hits to win the Terre Haute American Legion Sectional championship for the 28th time in the last 29 years.
Post 346, after trailing 4-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, scored three runs in the seventh and six in the eighth en route to an 11-4 victory at Terre Haute North’s Don Jennings Field.
Both Post 346 (31-10) and Post 140 (15-12) advanced to the regional tournament on Friday at Terre Haute North High School.
On Friday, Clinton plays Floyds Knobs at 4 p.m., followed by Wayne Newton against Madison at 7 p.m. The double-elimination tournament runs through Sunday.
“When you play this game you want to win. This is the 28th year out of the 29 years since I’ve been coaching we’ve won it. I wanted to win it especially and I know the kids wanted to win it because of that,” Post 346 coach John Hayes said.
Clinton, a second-year program going to its first regional next week, didn’t go through the motions. It came to win.
“We hung in there,” Clinton coach Ron Alabaugh said. “In the seventh inning, we had the lead so it was still a ball game. We got good starting pitching tonight out of a youngster and he kept us in there and we still had a chance to pull one out, but [Wayne Newton] just had too much today.”
Clinton’s Craig Overpeck held Wayne Newton to four hits through six innings. That’s when Hayes changed tactics.
“We started taking some pitches. Early on we were just up [at the plate] hacking and we were swinging at some pitches we shouldn’t so we decided we were going to take some pitches. I don’t know if that’s what made it work or not, but we started hitting the baseball and it got a little bit contagious and we scored some runs,” Hayes said.
Pete Lannoo led that hitting, going 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and three RBI. Sam Wolf, Preston Tofaute and Connor Pierce each had two hits.
“I think we just fire ourselves up a lot. A lot of people were getting on base there, and hitting is contagious. One person gets a hit, another person gets a hit, like that,” Lannoo said.
With Clinton leading 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Jacob Johnson started the rally with a one-out single. Pierce followed with a base hit, and T.J. Decker received a walk to load the bases.
Zach Milam singled to left field, scoring Johnson. Pierce was caught in a run-down between third and home and was out, but Wayne Newton still had runners on second and third bases.
Lannoo singled to drive in Decker and Milam with the go-ahead runs.
“I was just trying to protect with two strikes. I got a little lucky on it, but it was hit. We finally got our breaks tonight,” Lannoo said.
Winning pitcher Austin Hicks (7-3) back to the mound with a 5-4 lead and faced only seven batters the final two innings.
“Our pitching has been so good. In this tournament we give up five runs in three games and you ought to be winning if you’re doing that,” Hayes said.
Wayne Newton broke the game open with a six-run eighth inning. Wayne Newton got singles from Damon Olds, Cody Thornton, Preston Tofaute and doubles from Pierce and Lannoo in the game-deciding eighth inning.
“[Clinton was] a little bit short on pitching, but they battled us tooth and nail. They gave us all we wanted,” Hayes said.
CLINTON (AB-R-H-RBI) – Amstutz lf 4-0-1-0, Jacobs 2b, p 4-1-1-0, Lawson c, 1b 4-1-1-0, Luft 1b 2-1-1-2, Brown c 1-0-0-0, Weyrauch dh, p, 2b 4-0-1-0, Clark 3b 3-1-2-0, Terry rf 2-0-0-0, Branz ph 1-0-0-0, Smith cf 3-0-0-0, Rapp ph 1-0-0-0, Cunningham ss 2-0-0-0, Morgan ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 32-4-7-2.
TERRE HAUTE (AB-R-H-RBI) – Milam 3b 5-2-1-2, Lannoo 1b 5-1-3-3, Brock rf 2-0-1-0, Dransfield ph,rf 3-0-0-0, Wolf dh 3-1-2-1, Olds ph 1-0-0-0, Thornton cf 4-1-1-0, Tofaute c 4-2-2-1, Johnson ss 3-2-1-0, Pierce lf 3-1-2-1, Decker 2b 1-1-0-1, Peters ph, 2b 1-0-0-0. Totals 35-11-13-9.
Clinton Post 140 022 000 000 — 4
Terre Haute Post 346 110 000 36x — 11
E – Amstutz, Jacobs, Weyrauch. LOB – Clnt 5, TH 5. 2B – Lawson, Lannoo 2, Wolf, Pierce. SF – Wolf, Decker. Sac — Terry.
IP H R ER BB SO
Overpeck 6 2/3 8 5 4 1 3
Weyrauch 1/3 4 5 0 1 1
Jacobs 1 1 1 0 0 0
IP H R ER BB SO
Hicks 9 7 4 4 3 5
W – Hicks (7-3). L – Overpeck. WP – Weyrauch, Jacobs, Hicks. HBP – None. Balk – Weyrauch. PB – Tofaute.
Next — On Friday, Clinton Post 140 plays Floyds Knobs in the Terre Haute American Legion regional at 4 p.m., followed by Terre Haute Post 346 vs. Madison at 7 p.m.