By Darrell Stephens.
Hunter Rowe twirled a masterpiece that will be logged among the classics in Post 254 annals as Rockport beat host Kokomo 10-0 in the final winner’s bracket game of the 2016 American Legion baseball state finals.
Rowe, now 8-0, allowed only two harmless singles, struck out five and walked three in going the distance for the win. Rowe retired the side in order in four of the eight innings he worked and did'nt allow a Kokomo runner beyond second base in the game.
Rockport got the only run it would need in the first when Kobe Stephens walked, advanced to second on Andrew Hayden’s ground out and then scored when the Kokomo catcher threw the ball into left field as Stephens stole third.
Post 254 added three runs in the third. Zach Hopewell doubled with one out, Hayden coaxed an eight-pitch walk with two out to set the table.
Spenser Deom singled to right center to score Hopewell and Jakob Shuler blasted a monstrous double to left center to score Hayden and Deom.
After adding a single run in the seventh, Rockport ended the game on the mercy rule with five runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Trever Zink had three hits for Rockport with Stephens and Deom chipping in two each. Shuler had four runs batted in on only one hit, a bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice ground out that drove in Rockport’s 10th run.
Rockport (25-1) will play Terre Haute (23-10) at 6:00 p.m. (CDT) today (Monday). Newburgh (23-8-1) will play Kokomo (31-7) at 3:00 p.m.(CDT).
Regardless of today’s outcomes Post 254 is assured of playing for the state championship on Tuesday. Either someone will have to beat Rockport twice, or if Jenkins Post loses tonight, it could receive a bye into the championship game.
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