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July 19, 2013

Decker pitches perfect game for Post 346 in Legion baseball sectional

TERRE HAUTE — T.J. Decker surprised even himself Thursday night, pitching a perfect game for Terre Haute Wayne Newton Post 346 in the opener of the American Legion baseball sectional at Terre Haute North High School.

Decker retired 21 straight Sullivan Post 139 batters and Wayne Newton hammered out a 12-0 seven-inning, 10-run rule victory at North’s Don Jennings Field.

The victory keeps Post 346 in the winners’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Play resumes at 7 p.m. today with Clinton playing Washington in Game 2. Post 346 plays the winner of Game 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by Sullivan against the loser of Game 2 at 3:30 p.m.

Decker struck out only four and did not walk a batter.

“I could not believe that. I’m glad my defense came to play today. It was all them. They made every play when I needed it,” Decker said.

Post 346 played error-free baseball, fielding 11 groundballs and six flyballs.

“That’s a classic right there. You don’t have to strike everybody out. You do have to get ahead. Let those other guys play. That’s what they’re out there,” Terre Haute manager John Hayes said.

The loss dropped Sullivan to 9-16-1.

“It was a buzzsaw, to say the least. He threw a masterpiece,” Sullivan manager Craig Klitz said.

While fans, teammates and batters were melting in the heat, Decker was thriving. He was throwing as hard in the seventh inning as he was in the first.

“I love pitching in the heat. I just feel like I throw a little bit harder in the heat. Jumping on [Sullivan] for eight runs in the first inning helped me a lot too,” Decker said.

Post 346 sent 12 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored eight runs on four hits and three Sullivan errors. Sullivan made four errors in the game.

Post 346 added two in the second and two runs in the sixth inning to end the scheduled nine-inning game in seven.

Jacob Johnson led Post 346’s nine-hit night with two singles and four runs batted in. Zach Milam added two hits — one a double — and two RBIs, Cody Thornton contributed two singles and Preston Tofaute had two hits, including a triple.

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