Brackets have been set for the 2022 American Legion Baseball Great Lakes Regional at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. Indiana champion Muncie Post 19 is scheduled to play its first game against Gladwin City (Mich.) Post 171 in Game 3 at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Muncie will play again in the double-elimination event on Thursday, Aug. 4 at either 4 p.m. (Wednesday win) or 9:30 a.m. (Wednesday loss). The regional continues through Sunday, Aug. 7. The American Legion World Series is slated for Aug. 11-16 in Shelby, N.C. Muncie (19-11) earned the right to compete at regional by beating Terre Haute Post 346 by a 4-0 score Saturday, July 30 in Kokomo for the Indiana American Legion Senior Baseball State Championship. Jacob Pruitt tossed a no-hitter as the Kevn Zvokel-managed Chiefs won their first state title since 2008. Muncie went 4-1 in the tournament began in Rockport and concluded in Muncie.
AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL GREAT LAKES REGIONAL (At Midland, Mich.) Wednesday, Aug. 3 Game 1: Moline (Ill.) Post 256 vs. Eau Claire (Wis.), 9:30 a.m. Game 2: Aviston (Ill.) 1239 vs. Manitowoc (Wis.) Post 88, 12:30 p.m. Game 3: Muncie (Ind.) Post 19 vs. Gladwin City (Mich.) Post 171, 4 p.m. Game 4: Cincinnati (Ohio) Post 199 vs. Midland (Mich.) Post 165, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4 Game 5: Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 9:30 a.m. Game 6: Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 12:30 p.m. Game 7: Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 4 p.m. Game 8: Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 Game 9: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 11 a.m. Game 10: Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 4 p.m. Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6 Game 12: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 4 p.m. Game 13: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7 Game 14: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 1 p.m. (Championship). Game 15: If necessary, 4 p.m.
Right-hander Jacob Pruitt pitched a no-hitter Saturday, July 30 to help Muncie Post 19 defeat Terre Haute Post 346 by a 4-0 score in the championship of the 2022 Indiana American Legion Senior Baseball State Finals. Pruitt threw 100 pitches with 11 strikeouts and two walks to helped the Post 19 Chiefs win the program’s first senior baseball state crown since 2008. “My catcher Luke Willmann called a great game today,” said Pruitt. “He knew exactly what he wanted to me to throw and I was able to execute.” Pruitt, a 2022 Yorktown High School graduate and Indiana State University recruit as well as an Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series participant, mixed his four- and two-seam fastball and his breaking pitches to best Terre Haute for the second time during the State Finals. The first time was not at Kokomo’s CFD Stadium at Highland Park. The tournament began in Rockport Friday, July 22 and was moved to Kokomo because of excessive rain on what would have been the final day Tuesday, July 25. This also allowed all pitchers to be eligible under American Legion pitch count rest rules. Muncie Post 19, Terre Haute Post 346 and Kokomo Post 6 came into Saturday’s action with 3-1 tourney records. “I learned what their hitters are capable of doing,” said Pruitt of the July 22 game against Terre Haute. “They’re a very good team, obviously. But I was able to find some weaknesses in the off-speed where I could exploit. “It the curveball the last time. It was the slider today. I was able to mix it up.” Post 346 manager David Will explained why he thought Pruitt was so effective. “He throws a 92 mph fastball and he’s got a slider that’s only five or six miles an hour slower,” said Will. “It looks like a fastball coming to the kids so they’re right out front and it makes them look silly. “He’s a good pitcher.” Post 19 Chiefs manager Ken Zvokel had Jerad Michael (who had two saves earlier in the State Finals) ready to go if Pruitt faltered. But that did not happen. “(Pruitt) was on fire,” said Kvokel. He got it in his head that he was going to win this game and wasn’t going to give the ball up.” With the championship, Muncie (19-11) advances to the Great Lakes Regional (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 3-7 in Midland, Mich. The American Legion World Series is slated for Aug. 11-16 in Shelby, N.C. “We were fired up,” said Zvokel of his team. “We’ve had a good roll here the last couple of weeks. We play good ball all the way — top to bottom. Every guy on the bench is ready to go.” Terre Haute (25-8-1) was seeking its 15th overall state title and first since 2019. Post 346 topped Kokomo Post 6 by a 5-1 count in Saturday’s first game. Muncie went up 4-0 with two runs in the fourth. Hayden Carrow smacked a lead-off single and Isaac Jackson followed with a double. Carrow scored on an error and Jackson later came home Cooper Roach’s sacrifice fly. Post 19 tallied a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the third for a 2-0 lead. Quinn Faulkner led off with a walk and Michael reached on a sacrifice and an error. A double by Willmann drove in Faulkner and Michael. Right-hander Derek Lebron, a Rend Lake College recruit, pitched a complete game for Terre Haute. He allowed six hits while striking out five and walking two
Semifinal Terre Haute Post 346 5, Kokomo Post 6 1 Right-hander Cade Moore threw 100 pitches and went the distance as the winner for Post 346. The right-hander who graduated from Terre Haute North Vigo High School in 2021 and was at Kentucky Wesleyan College in the spring scattered six hits, struck out five and walked none. “Cade pitched really well,” said Will. “He was pounding the zone. He gave them some fits. On top of that we made some great plays in the infield that really helped him.” Terre Haute took its lead up to 5-1 with one run in the top of the sixth inning. Logan Nicoson singled and later crossed the plate on an infield hit by Tyler Will. Kokomo right fielder Jacob Ward caught a fly and threw out a runner at the plate for the first two outs. Post 6 cut the gap to 4-1 with one run in the bottom of the fourth. Will McKinzie produced a lead-off single and later scored on Conner Boone’s sacrifice fly. McKinzie moved to second base on an error and third base on Levi Mavrick’s single. Post 346 pushed its advantage to 4-0 with a solo home run by Pierson Barnes in the top of the fourth. With one out, Barnes belted the first pitch he saw over the tall fence in right field. Terre Haute took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the top of the third. Ty Stultz drew a walk against Kokomo right-handed starter Owen Taylor. With one out, Moore doubled off Post 6 righty reliever Mavrick, who tossed the last five innings and gave up 10 hits with one strikeout and two walks. An error on the play allowed Stultz and score. A single by Bryson Carpenter plated Moore from second base. Post 346 scored one run in the top of the first. Lead-off man Caden Mason walked and later scored on a wild pitch. He was advanced to second base by Moore’s sacrifice bunt and third base Carpenter’s fly-out. Kokomo, which was seeking its first state crown since 1982, finished 2022 season at 23-10-2. Because of a positive COVID-19 test, Post 6 was without 2022 Logansport High School graduate and Indiana University Kokomo commit Gavin Smith. He was selected as the A.D. Phillips Sportsmanship Award winner. The five other participants in the 2022 State Finals were Newburgh Post 44, Jasper Post 147, South Bend Post 151, South Haven Post 502 and Rockport Post 254.
INDIANA AMERICAN LEGION SENIOR STATE FINALS (2022) At Rockport Friday, July 22 Newburgh 7, Jasper 3 Muncie 2, Terre Haute 1 Kokomo 4, South Bend 1 Rockport 5, South Haven 4 Saturday, July 23 Jasper 10, South Bend 7 Terre Haute 7, South Haven 0 (forfeit) Kokomo 10, Newburgh 4 Muncie 4, Rockport 3 Sunday, July 24 Terre Haute 4, Newburgh 3 Rockport 11, Jasper 0 (5 inn.) Muncie 10, Kokomo 0 (5 inn.) Monday, July 25 Kokomo 3, Rockport 2 Terre Haute 15, Muncie 3 At Kokomo Saturday, July 30 Terre Haute 5, Kokomo 1 (semifinal) Muncie 4, Terre Haute 0 (championship)
For the 11th time, Rockport Post 254 toted away the hardware. Rockport beat Crawfordsville Post 72 by a 4-2 count in the Indiana American Legion Baseball Senior State Finals championship game. The contest was staged Tuesday, July 27 at CFD Investment Stadium at Highland Park in Kokomo and closed out a five-day run for the eight-team double-elimination tournament. Rockport (20-7) came out of the winners’ bracket, meaning that losers’ bracket survivor Crawfordsville (20-12) had to win twice to earn its first state crown and instead took home its first runner-up trophy. Post 254 and Post 72 advanced to the championship game with wins in Monday’s semifinals. With the state crown, Rockport moves on to the Great Lakes Regional Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 4-8 at Dale Miller Field in Morgantown, W.Va. Besides the Indiana champion, there will be state title-takers from Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. Eight regional winners advance to the American Legion Baseball World Series Thursday through Monday, Aug. 12-16 on Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C. Post 254 prevailed Tuesday by staying away from the big Post 72 inning. “That’s been one of the secrets of this bunch,” said Rockport manager Jim Haaf, who has been involved with all 11 state titles. “They overcome and they did it several times today.” Crawfordsville plated one run in the top of the seventh inning. Drew Bradley (2021 Danville Community High School) led off with a walk. With two outs, Post 254 right-handed starter Jake Stuteville (South Spencer Class of 2021) reached the 105-pitch count limit (he finished with 107 while finishing a batter) was spelled by right-hander Reece Davis (Perry Central Class of 2021), who yielded a single to center from George Valencia (Fountain Central Class of 2020) that plated Bradley then coaxed a championship-clinching infield pop-up. “I trusted my fastball,” said Stuteville, who struck out six, walked three and gave up five hits and two runs in his 5 1/3 innings. “It was moving. “I just had confidence in myself.” Rockport scored one run in the sixth for a 4-1 lead. Right-hander Landen Southern (Clinton Prairie Class of 2021) reached the pitch limit (he tossed 109 while being allowed to finish a batter) and was relieved by Bradley with the bases loaded and two outs after a pair of Southern strikeouts. Bradley walked Ashton Tindle (South Spencer Class of 2022) to force in Bren Miller (Tell City Class of 2021), who led off the inning with a single to left) and the frame ended with a strikeout. Southern gave up four runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. There were runners at first and second base against Stuteville at the close of the Post 72 sixth. “It’s rough,” said four-year Crawfordsville manager Kyle Proctor, who saw his team strand eight runners, including four in scoring position. “I think we could have won the championship, but they beat us the first time and put us in the losers’ bracket, making it a lot tougher.” Jacob Braun (North Montgomery Class of 2021) rapped a one-out single to left and Matthew Harris (Tri-West Hendricks Class of 2021) drew a walk before an inning-ending forceout and third base off the bat of Zach Fichter (Crawfordsville Class of 2021). The Rockport fifth ended with a defensive gem. Post 72 first baseman Cade Walker (Seeger Class of 2021) made a diving catch of a line drive by Jackson Raaf (South Spencer Class of 2022) and threw to shortstop Owen Gregg (North Montgomery Class of 2020) to double off Jalen Johnson (South Spencer Class of 2022), who had reached on an error and stolen second base. Southern was on the mound for Crawfordsville. Stuteville worked his way in and out of a jam in a scoreless Crawfordsville fifth. With one out. Fichter was hit by a pitch, Bradley reached on an error and Austin Motz (Crawfordsville Class of 2022) walked to lead the bases before Stuteville got a strikeout and fly-out to end the threat. “Our pitcher got squared away,” said Haaf. “Then we made some plays and began to hit the ball a little bit.” Rockport went down 1-2-3 against Southern in the fourth with swinging strikeout, pop-up and looking strikeout. Post 72 sent four batters to the plate against Stuteville in a score-free fourth and left Braun at first base following a two-out single to left. Rockport went scorless against Southern in the third. Crawfordsville turned a double play for the first two outs — shortstop Gregg to sprawling first baseman Walker. The inning ended when Crawfordsville left fielder Ficther took away a hit from Diond’re Jacob (Tell City Class of 2021). Fichter made a dive and catch heading toward the fence. Crawfordsville went down in order against Stuteville in the third with a fly-out, groundout and strikeout. Post 254 went up 3-1 with two runs in the second. Wes Scamehorn (Perry Central Class of 2021) drew a lead-off walk and scored on a two-run home run by Houston Compton (South Spencer Class of 2022). The blast to left came on a 3-2 delivery from Southern that concluded an at-bat where Compton fouled off three pitches. Post 72 pulled even at 1-1 with a run against Stuteville in the second. Braun lashed a lead-off double to left, moved to second on a single to left by Walker and scored on a fielder’s choice forceout by Harris. The frame ended with Rockville catcher Raaf firing to second baseman Johnson to cut down Harris attempting to steal. Rockport scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first. Raaf drew a one-out walk from Southern and later scored on a single to center by Davis. Southern struck out the side in Crawfordsville first. Crawfordsville’s roster was full of older players so Proctor expects a different look next summer. “We scout in the spring and see which players can join us,” says Proctor. “We play for everything. (Players) don’t pay anything.” Indiana crowned its first American Legion Baseball state champion in 1926.
INDIANA AMERICAN LEGION SENIOR STATE FINALS (At Kokomo) Championship ROCKPORT POST 254 4, CRAWFORDSVILLE POST 72 2 Crawfordsville 010 000 1 — 2 6 2 Rockport 120 001 x — 4 7 1 Landen Southern (L), Drew Bradley (6); Jake Stuteville (W), Reece Davis (7, S). Crawfordsville: Hits — Jacob Braun 3, Owen Gregg 1, George Valencia 1, Cade Walker 1. 2B — Braun. RBI — Valencia 1, Matthew Harris 1. Runs — Braun, Bradley. LOB — 8. Rockport: Hits — Davis 3, Bren Miller 2, Jackson Raaf 1, Houston Compton 1. HR — Compton. 2B — Davis. RBI — Compton 2, Davis 1, Ashton Tindle 1. Runs — Raaf 1, Compton 1, Miller 1, Wes Scamahorn 1. SB — Davis, Jalen Johnson. LOB — 5. T — 2:08. Records: Rockport 21-11, Crawfordsville 20-12.