News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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July 23, 2012

Wayne Newton breezes through sectional

TERRE HAUTE — Most fans will remember Wayne Newton Post 346’s 11-run third inning outburst as the key to its 15-4 seven-inning, 10-run-rule victory over Sullivan Post 139 in the American Legion baseball sectional championship game at Jennings Field on Sunday.

Sullivan fans will likely remember their team refusing to fold when the deficit reached 13-1 in that fateful third inning.

“It’s nice to have those 11-run innings,” Post 346 manager John Hayes laughed. “Boy if I could have one of those every game we’d be awful good, wouldn’t we? The kids just came out and attacked the baseball. They’ve done that in this tournament … that’s the reason we’ve won.”

“These kids from Post 139 very easily could have rolled over when Post 346 had that monstrous inning,” Sullivan manager Craig Klitz countered. “For us to get here into championship Sunday, to come out of this tournament 2-2, I’ll hold near and dear to my heart.”

Both teams turned leadoff walks into runs in the first inning. “Visiting” team Post 346 went up 2-1 in the second inning as Colton Rupska tripled, scoring on the first of two sacrifice flies by Preston Tofaute.

In the monstrous Post 346 third, Dalton Sexton doubled, scoring on a Sullivan error. Cody Thornton singled, then the next three batters — Rupska with a single, Tofaute a sacrifice fly and Zach Milam a single — all drove in a run for a 6-1 lead.

Daniel Marlow singled to send Milam to third, then Kodie Girton walked to load the bases. With two outs, the next four batters walked — three with the bases loaded — and a fourth run scored on a wild pitch. Tofaute’s  RBI single and Milam’s RBI double completed the Post 346 scoring.

Post 346 used aggressive baserunning, utilizing five stolen bases in the first and third innings.

“We made up our mind today we were going to run a lot until we got ahead,” Hayes said. “We did and it proved to get us some runs and really got us going.”

Sullivan battled back to within a nine-run deficit, scoring three runs off Post 346 reliever Jimmy Maxwell in the fourth inning.

Bryce Bement, Kyle Fulford and Jacob Hauger singled, the latter getting an RBI. Cam McNeely walked and stole second, then Fulford and McNeely scored on a two-run single by Luke Sweet to get within 13-4.

Post 346 scored two runs to get back over the 10-run threshold in the fifth inning. Rupska — who was 3 for 4 with four runs scored — singled, Tofuate doubled and both scored after a Pete Lannoo single and a sacrifice fly by Marlow.

Decker and Maxwell pitched three innings apiece for Post 346, with Scott West pitching a scoreless seventh inning.

While Sullivan’s first two pitchers struggled, allowing 13 runs, seven hits and issuing seven walks, Bryce Bement allowed just two runs over the final 41⁄3 innings.

“That’s not something I can teach,” Klitz said of his team not giving up. “These kids are motivated … they were born with that type of motivation and desire.”

Looking to the future, Klitz stated, “I think we officially have a heartbeat in the program now. We’ve got a lot of support in Sullivan County. It takes a lot of support … these parents have really put in a lot of time and traveled a lot of miles with us in a 27-game season.”

Sullivan Post 139 — which had just nine players on Sunday — draws its roster from Sullivan, North Central, Shakamak, Linton and White River Valley. Post 139 finished 11-16 on the season.

“This is [Sullivan’s] first year back in the program after being out for several years,” Hayes added. “It’s tough the first year. I hope their kids hang with it next year because good things will happen if they stick together and continue to improve their schedule.”

Meanwhile, the future is now for Post 346 (28-10) as it hosts the American Legion regional at Jennings Field beginning Friday. Two of its opponents in this four-team field will be Floyds Knobs and Seymour, the other Vevay or St. Leon.

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