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ROCKPORT – Post 254 faces stiff competition in its attempt to win an 18th regional baseball championship this weekend.
Rockport will open the double-elimination tournament against Evansville sectional runner-up Newburgh in the second game of Friday’s opening round. Evansville champion Princeton will face Boonville, who Rockport defeated in the Boonville sectional, Friday at 4 p.m.
Friday’s winners will meet at noon Saturday, with the previous night’s losers facing off in an elimination game at 3:30. The loser of game three and the winner of game four will then meet at 7 p.m. to determine who will play for the regional title.
The final round will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday. If necessary, a deciding seventh game will be played 45 minutes following the conclusion of game six.
So far, Newburgh has had Rockport’s number this season, defeating them 8-4 on June 19 and 11-4 July 1.
Post 254 dominated Princeton in their only meeting this year, crushing them 11-2 on June 26.
However, Manager Jim Haaff said that game was not indicative of how good a team Princeton is. In fact, Haaff believes they are potentially as dangerous as they were a year ago, when they eliminated Rockport in the regional championship game.
“Both (Newburgh and Princeton) are really good,” Haaff said. “We’ll have our hands full; there’s no question about it.”
But Haaff also knows his team isn’t to be taken lightly. While many of his players haven’t experienced a big time Legion tourney, nine of them played a role in winning a state championship at South Spencer this spring. Haaff expects to be in the mix by weekend’s end.
“Our idea when we start every year is to make it to the state tournament,” Haaff said. “A lof of it will come down to who gets the big hits and who makes big plays. I think we’re capable of doing some of those things.”
Game 1: Princeton vs. Boonville, Friday, 4 p.m.
Game 2: Rockport vs. Newburgh, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. game 2 winner, Saturday, noon
Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. game 2 loser, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. game 4 winner, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. game 5 winner, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): 45 minutes following game 6