By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — Logansport Post 60 appeared well on its way to a sweep of Kokomo Post 6 in American Legion baseball Wednesday at Turner Field.
Logan jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings of play. But Post 6 starter Nathan Kirk recovered and the Sixers recorded a 6-4 comeback win to salvage a split of a two-game series.
Kirk, of Western High School, allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits, one walk and two hit batsmen while striking out four in the nine-inning complete-game effort.
“I thought we were going to score lots of runs, but their pitcher calmed down and he threw a lot of strikes and kept us off balanced,” Logan coach Tyler Gellinger said. “I don’t think we played poorly, we just weren’t as sharp as we normally have been.”
Logan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run single by Clayton Frye.
Logan added two more runs in the second after back-to-back two-out errors by Kokomo and an RBI double by Jacob Shelton to make it 4-0.
But that would be the last time Post 60 would dent the scoreboard, as at one point Kirk pitched four straight innings of hitless ball from the fourth to seventh.
Zach Shilts got the start on the mound for Logan and cruised through the first two innings before running into a bout of wildness in the third. He walked the bases loaded to start the inning and Drew Bellus (Western) had an RBI single and Conner Mulligan (Northwestern) followed with a two-run single to pull Kokomo to within 4-3.
Kokomo tied the game in the fourth against reliever Frye when Eli Grimes (Kokomo) hit a bloop single, Logan Barnes (Taylor) doubled and Justin Blevens (Clinton Central) had an RBI groundout.
Kokomo scored the go-ahead run against Frye in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. After back-to-back walks and a balk, Cory Roberts (Taylor) delivered a sac fly to center to make it a 5-4 game.
Kokomo added an insurance run against reliever Cody Graf in the ninth on an unearned run after Roberts delivered an RBI double.
Mulligan led Kokomo with two hits and two RBIs. Grimes and Bellus each had two runs scored.
Frye and Shelton had two hits apiece for Logansport. Travis Palmer had a hit and two runs scored. Nito Luna, Xavier Luna and Chris Jones each added a base hit for Logan. Marcus Record had a run scored.
Logan had just 10 players suit up in the contest, all from LHS — three recent grads and seven returnees for next year.
“We only have three that have graduated, so we’ve got a lot of guys that are getting good experience for next year, which is always good,” Gellinger said.
Logan dropped to 8-6 on the season while Kokomo improved to 4-6.
“So far it’s been good,” Gellinger said. “We’ve been trying to piece together teams. We can’t get everyone here at the same time because of other sports and graduations and stuff like that. We picked up a couple kids to pitch for us from Lewis Cass and Peru, and they’re doing well.”
Gellinger said the squad recently picked up Lewis Cass pitcher Josh Rankert, who helped the team finish third at last weekend’s Anderson/Ball State University Showcase. Graf had a complete-game gem at the Showcase.
Peru’s Kyle Marburger and Logan’s Kyle Jordan combined on a four-hit shutout in a 2-0 win at Kokomo on Tuesday night. Record and Palmer had Logan’s only two hits in that game.
Two Post 60 players are injured in Dustin Clements (broken thumb) and Lewis Cass’ Austin Clem (knee).
“Dustin might be able to come back by the end of the sectional. Clem may be back. He finds out Friday the diagnosis whether he’s done or not,” Gellinger said.
Post 60 travels to Plymouth on Friday night for a doubleheader before traveling to Terre Haute North on Sunday for two more games.
Beau Wicker is the sports editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.