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By Ryan Carroll
PLYMOUTH â€”It took two games on Sunday but the Plymouth Post 27 Diamond Spyders were able to come away with an American Legion Sectional title with an 8-0 victory over Kokomo Post 6.
Kokomo came through the losersâ€™ bracket of the tournament and needed to get two victories over Post 27 on the day to take away the Sectional title but playing five games in three days looked like it took its toll on Post 6.
Kokomo picked up a fairly convincing win in game one of the day, defeating Plymouth 7-4. Post 6 starting pitcher Bryce Rainey had the Diamond Spydersâ€™ off balance most of the day. He scattered twelve hits and struck out six to earn the victory.
It was a big sixth inning for Kokomo that earned them the victory in this game. Three singles in a row off of Plymouth reliever Tyler Niespodziany forced two runs to cross the plate. Another single after a sacrifice bunt plated another run and put Post 6 up 5-1. Michael Holderread entered the game to try to silence the Kokomo bats but a double and single to consecutive hitters allowed two more runs to score putting the Diamond Spyders in a 7-1 hole.
Plymouth tried to battle back in the eighth and ninth innings but came up short. The Diamond Spyders had the go ahead run at the plate with one out in the ninth but a Post 6 relief pitcher Cody Shipley was able to force a ground ball to third for a double play to end the treat and force a winner-take-all second game in the championship.
Sean Liedtky had three hits for Post 27 followed by two hits each by Sean Knepper and Wally Dickman.
KOKOMO 7, PLYMOUTH 4
Plymouth: 000 001 012 â€“ 4 12 4
Kokomo: 001 105 00X â€“ 7 12 1
WP: Bryce Rainey
LP: Clayton Adamson
SV: Cody Shipley
2B: Sean Knepper (P), Shay Hepler (P), Cody Shipley (K), Trevor Marler (K), Connor Milligan (K)
Records: Plymouth 21-12
Plymouth took its momentum from the end of game one and used it to break out to an early lead in the second game of the day and never looked back.
Wally Dickman did his part on the mound and at the plate.
Dickman threw a complete-game shutout allowing only five Kokomo hits and allowing only two Post 6 runners to reach scoring position. He also had a pair of hits for the Diamond Spyders and drove in a couple runs.
â€śThat was a big performance by Dickman,â€ť Plymouth coach Tony Plothow said of the hard throwing right hander. â€śHe came up big in a big game for us. He showed tonight what kind of pitcher he can be and we have been looking for that kind of game out of him all season long. It was nice to see it in a game as important as this one was.â€ť
Plymouth hitters benefitted from a depleted Kokomo pitching staff and were able to jump on the board early in the game.
Shay Hepler walked with one out in the second inning and moved to second base on a bunt single by Wes Burkholder. Sean Knepper singled home Hepler and Anson brought Burkholder home with a single. A sacrifice fly by Tanner Andrews and a single by Dickman brought home two more runs to put the Diamond Spyders up 4-0 after two innings of play.
Plymouth continued to add to the lead with single runs in the third and fourth innings and then again in the eighth and ninth to seal the victory.
Sean Knepper once again led the Plymouth attack offensively from the leadoff spot. He went three for five in the night cap, scored once and drove in two runs.
The win allows the Diamond Spyders to advance to the American Legion Baseball Regional Tournament that will be hosted in Plymouth next weekend. The tournament will start on Friday at Bill Nixon Field.
PLYMOUTH 8, KOKOMO 0
Plymouth: 041 100 011 â€“ 8 11 0
Kokomo: 000 000 000 â€“ 0 5 3
WP: Wally Dickman
LP: Connor Milligan
2B: Brody Andrews (P), Wally Dickman (P)
Records: Plymouth 22-12
Plymouth Post 27 started post season play on Saturday with an 11-4 victory over Kokomo Post 6 in game two of the American Legion Sectional hosted at Plymouthâ€™s Bill Nixon Field.
It took a big fifth inning to put the Diamond Spyders in the driverâ€™s seat in the game and the tournament for that matter. The victory moved Post 27 into Championship Sunday and whoever moved through the losersâ€™ bracket would have to win back-to-back games on short rest and pitching to take the Sectional crown away.
â€śThis win makes the tournament much more manageable with our pitching rotation and substitutions.â€ť Said head coach Tony Plothow of his teamâ€™s victory. â€śTo get to the championship game and have only used two pitchers and to have hit as well as we did makes us feel good about our chances.â€ť
Sean Liedtky got the start on the mound and even though he didnâ€™t have his good stuff working he was effective and picked up the victory. Liedtky tossed seven innings, struck out six and allowed four earned runs in the game. Tanner Andrews came in for the final two innings and struck out two hitters of his own.
â€śWhat a gutsy performance by Liedtky,â€ť Said Plothow. â€śHe got behind some hitters early in the game but when we got the lead for him he gutted it out and he wanted to go the eighth inning but his pitch count just didnâ€™t allow us to let him continue.â€ť
The Diamond Spyder offense benefitted from four Kokomo errors in the fifth to pick up the six runs and seal the deal for the win.
Kokomo began the inning with back-to-back errors - the first on a Shay Hepler ground ball to second base and the second on a bunt that was fielded by the pitcher and thrown over the head of the first baseman, allowing both runners to advance into scoring position. Brock Anson singled in Hepler and Tanner Andrews followed with a single of his own to plate Knepper. Brody Andrews knocked in two more runs on an error by the third basemen to put Post 27 up 6-2. Trent Briles singled up the middle to drive in the final two runs of the inning and put the Diamond Spyders up six runs.
Knepper the Post 27 charge offensively with three hits and three runs scored and Brody Andrews drove in four Diamond Spyders in the game.
The victory allowed Plymouth to rest until Sunday when it would resume play against the winner of the Kokomo Post 6 and Logansport Post 418/60 game that followed its game on Saturday.
PLYMOUTH 11, KOKOMO 4
Plymouth: 011 062 100 â€“ 11 13 1
Kokomo: 101 020 000 â€“ 4 11 5
WP: Sean Liedtky
LP: Clay Oâ€™Neal
2B: Brock Anson (P), Brody Andrews (P), Wally Dickman (P), Logan Barnes (K)
Records: Plymouth 21-11