AMERICAN LEGION JUNIOR SIXERS WIN REGIONAL, ADVANCE TO STATE FINALS IN KOKOMO

Junior Legion Regional Champs 2

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. - The Kokomo American Legion Post 6 junior baseball team recently captured the Kokomo Regional in the Indiana Junior District Tournament at cfd Investments Stadium in Highland Park. The Sixers won in dramatic fashion, winning three straight elimination games in one day to earn the title trophy. The win sends the squad to the Indiana Junior State Finals, which will be held in Kokomo beginning on July 25.

“Winning three games in a day is difficult, but we were up to the task of winning back-to-back-to-back games,” said head coach Dan Armstrong. “It is always good to win championships. We look forward to the state championship starting on Thursday night.”

In the championship game, Post 6 defeated Valparaiso 15-1 to claim the title. Quinlan Armstrong pitched a five-inning complete game one-hitter to earn the win while giving up no earned runs. Armstrong also led the hitting attack, ripping a double, two singles and scoring three runs. Ian Parslow had a double and single and scored three times. Keyon Washington had a pair of doubles and three RBIs, Will Harris scored three runs, Jesse Johnson had a pair of RBIs and Colby Malson had two singles.

Post 6 advanced to the title game after a 3-2 win over Valparaiso. Brayton Woolley threw a complete game three-hitter to earn the win. Armstrong had a pair of singles and an RBI to lead the offense. Chase Pearce had a double and scored a run while Skyler Ramberger had two singles.

The junior Sixers started the tournament on a sour note, losing to Bristol in a 3-2 pitchers duel. Pearce took the hard-luck complete game loss but added a pair of singles on offense. Malson and Parslow added a single each and Harris and Ramberger had RBI sacrifice flies.

“We did it the hard way by losing on Friday night in a tough ball game with Bristol,” said Armstrong. “But we came back on Saturday needing to win three games that day to win the tournament and did so against a very good Bristol team and a very feisty Valparaiso team who we had to beat twice. We received outstanding pitching in the tournament with timely hitting with runners in scoring position.”

In game two of the tourney, Post 6 avenged its loss with a 16-9 win over Bristol. Malson earned the win while Parslow picked up a save. Armstrong had a stellar game, ripping two doubles and a single while scoring two runs and accounting for four RBIs. Harris had three hits, including a double and home run, while scoring twice and knocking home four runs. Parslow had two singles, scored twice and had three RBIs. Skyler Ramberger had two RBIs and Pearce had a single, double and two runs scored.

The Post 6 junior squad opens state finals play at 7:30 p.m. on July 25 against Rockport at cfd Investments Stadium. Game one features Terre Haute versus Evansville at 5 p.m. The double-elimination, four-team tournament has games at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on July 26 with the championship game slated for July 27 at 1 p.m. (second game will follow if necessary).

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cfd SAINTS II 14U BASEBALL TEAM WINS CARMEL CUP TOURNAMENT

cfd Saints Champs

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. - The cfd Saints II 14U baseball team traveled to the Carmel Cup Tournament and played its best baseball of the year. After rolling through pool play with a perfect 3-0 record, the Saints dominated the 10-team field and captured the Cup championship with a 6-0 win over the Fishers Tigers.

“We finally got hot for a weekend and won 6 games in 72 hours,” said Saints manager Brent Owens. “It was a weekend when all three phases were working for us.  Offensively we scored 47 runs, defensively we played some error free games and made several great plays and our pitching staff only gave up nine runs in 36 innings.”

With the No. 1 seed in the knockout round of the tournament, the Saints (21-16-2) topped the Indy Jets 12-2 in the quarterfinals and Zionsville 4-3 in the semi-finals to set up the championship showdown with Fishers.

Kacy Wilson picked-up a pair of wins on the weekend, including a six inning effort against Zionsville. Wilson allowed just three earned runs in nine innings while striking out eight hitters.

Cooper O’Neal pitched nine innings on the weekend including a complete game shut-out against Fishers in the title bout. O’Neal recorded eight strikeouts in the contest.

Ashton Guyer and Grady Davis pitched complete games for victories and Kolten Gifford got a victory against the Jets in the quarterfinals.

“Kacy Wilson got his eighth win on the season and has been a mainstay for us on the mound this year,” said Owens. “And when Cooper O’Neal is on, he is an awesome pitcher.”

Offensively, Gifford led the charge going 9-20 with two doubles and four RBIs over the course of the six games. Jaret Humphrey finished 7-14 with four RBIs while O’Neal also had seven hits, four RBIs and a pair of doubles. Peyton Tracy ripped three doubles among his six hits while knocking home six RBIs. Wilson was 6-12 with three RBIs. Bailey Owens tied for the team lead with six RBIs while ripping five base hits and Chandler LaMott had two doubles among five hits and three RBIs. Rounding out the offense was Davis with four hits and three RBIs, Peyton Johnson with a triple and three singles, Wynn Takacs with a pair of hits and Guyer with two home runs.

“Ashton Guyer crushed a home run that went about 350 feet,” said Owens. “This is a great group of young men and we really represent Western, Taylor, Kokomo and Lewis Cass well; it is a fun group to be around.”

For more information on cfd Saints II baseball, visit the programs website at www.cfdsaintsii.com. The Saints will host tryouts for the 2015 team on Aug. 9 at 2 p.m.  at the cfd Field on Goyer Road. For more information on the tryouts, contact Owens at (765) 438-0635.

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KOKOMO NATIVE JOE THATCHER TRADED TO LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Joe Thatcher

LOS ANGELES - On July 5, The Los Angeles Angels acquired left-handed relief pitcher Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for outfielder Zach Borenstein and right-handed pitcher Joey Krehbiel.

Thatcher, a 32 year-old Kokomo High School graduate, has appeared in 37 games this season out of the Arizona bullpen, pitching to a 1-0 record and 2.63 ERA (24 innings pitched, seven earned runs) with 25 strikeouts and three walks. His 8.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season ranks second in the National League behind Clayton Kershaw (9.73).

Thatcher has an active streak of 23 consecutive appearances without walking a batter (13.1 IP, 53 batters faced) which is the longest active streak in the Majors and is a new Diamondbacks franchise record. Since 2007, he ranks third in the Majors in inherited runners scored percentage, having stranded 242 of 300 inherited runners (80.67 percent).

Thatcher was originally signed as a Minor League free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005. He was traded to San Diego on July 25, 2007 and made his big league debut with the Padres the following day. He appeared in 287 games with San Diego from 2007-2013, posting an 8-11 record with one save and a 3.18 ERA (198.1 IP – 70 ER) before being traded to Arizona on July 31, 2013. In 59 career games with the D-backs, Thatcher has gone 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA (33.1 IP – 14 ER). He has held left-handed batters to a .221 batting average against (92/417) for his career. Overall, owns a 9-12 lifetime big league record and a 3.26 ERA (231.2 IP – 84 ER) with 242 strikeouts and 78 walks.

The Kokomo southpaw is currently second in most Major League games played by a KHS graduate. He trails Tom Underwood by 32 games, 379-347.

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Angels and Sports Journal

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