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June 24, 2013

AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL: Floyds Knobs is off to 14-1 start in 2013

Influx of FC players has made Post 42 more talented than ever

FLOYDS KNOBS — Floyds Knobs’ American Legion baseball team has won two sectionals in the last three years. In 2013, Post 42 probably has more talent than at any time in its six-year existence.

With the addition of eight players, including five from the Floyd Central High School baseball team that spent nearly the entire 2013 season at No. 1 in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 4A poll, Floyds Knobs is off to a 14-1 start.

It won the Post 42 Invitational June 14-16 by outscoring four opponents 56-13 and took the Haustetter Memorial Tournament championship at Richmond over the weekend.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of talent and good ballplayers we have on the team,” Post 42 coach Ricky Romans said of the fast start. “The Floyd Central pickups have helped build a foundation for us. The Floyd kids have had a lot of success.”

“We’ve always played together and we’re all friends, so it just clicked,” said Cody Sunderhaus, who is a four-year member of the Post 42 squad and a recent graduate of Floyd Central.

The combination of the eight new players and some solid veterans, including Sunderhaus, has been a potent combination.

“We have a lot of guys who have been in our system a few years,” Romans said. “We’ve got some good leadership this year. I love our team chemistry. It’s unbelievable right now. That’s what any coach wants from a team.”

“Everybody has meshed together,” Clarksville graduate Nathaniel Jones said. “We all like to have fun, but when we step on the field it’s all business. The FC boys know how to win in bunches. We’ve followed their lead and everybody else has stepped in and filled in roles.”

Behind recent Floyd Central graduates Sunderhaus, Kyle Sipes, Kyle Beach, Garrett Ruttle, Henryville grad Cody Reister, former Clarksville General Drew Kissel and Charlestown junior-to-be Drew Reich, Post 42 has a pitching staff that has been shutting down opponents.

“Our pitching has been really good this year,” IU Southeast freshman and North Harrison grad Josh Wenning said. “It’s been nice.”

And the hitting hasn’t been bad, either. Post 42 is averaging 10.4 runs per outing and scored 66 runs in its five-game run at the tournament in Richmond over the weekend.

“We’ve hit the ball well,” Romans said. “We have a very well-rounded team. This is probably the most depths we’ve had. We have a lot of veterans and a lot of really good newcomers.”

“There’s a lot of talent here, definitely,” Sunderhaus said.

Floyds Knobs expects to repeat last year’s sectional championship July 19-21 at Madison.

“We hope so,” Romans said. “We’re not taking anyone lightly and our No. 1 goal is to win our sectional. We hope to be able to be playing our best ball and have a chance to get to the Terre Haute Regional.”

“We strive to play well at the end of the year with the sectional and hopefully the regional and state,” Sunderhaus said. “We prepare ourselves all year with [in-season] tournaments and the regular-season games.”

Defending state champion Terre Haute Wayne Newton Post 346 knocked off Floyds Knobs in the regional championship a year ago. Terre Haute has a program deep with tradition and is the top target of Post 42.

“We hope to get another crack at them,” Romans said. “We keep saying ‘Terre Haute’ because they’ve been around Legion ball a long time and they’re such a great program.”

“They’re a really good team,” said Sunderhaus, who is going to college in Terre Haute at Rose-Hulman in the fall. “We definitely want to show them what we’ve got.”

There’s a lot of time between now and the Terre Haute Regional July 26-28. But the Floyds Knobs players are already focused on becoming a team good enough to compete with Post 346.

“We want to beat Terre Haute in regionals,” Wenning said. “We fell short last year and we felt we should have beaten them. Definitely, our goal is to beat them and move on.”

“Our goal is to get past Terre Haute, for sure, in the regional,” Jones said. “We have the talent and the motivation to get there. Once we get there, we have to be prepared. It needs to be a business trip once we get there. We’ll be on a mission.”

If Post 42 can get by the sectional and Terre Haute in the regional, the state finals is played in St. Leon, which is across the border from Cincinnati, near Versailles.

“We assume we’ll have to go through [Terre Haute] to reach our ultimate goal of getting to the state finals and have a chance to win a state championship,” Romans said.

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