American Legion

Hunter Groh came up clutch for the Emporia Post 5 Seniors Friday morning in their first game of the Sam Ellis Classic against the Wichita Aviators.

In a five-all game in the top of the seventh, the Chase County graduate lifted one to right center field which gave Post 5 enough to win its first game, 8-5. Groh's home run gave Emporia its first lead since 2-0 in the third.

"It felt pretty good," Groh said.  "Just seeing the ball fly, it made everything better. When it hit the fence and went over, it was that much better." 

Even though Post 5 was trailing by three runs with six outs to play, Anthony Markowitz said he had faith in his team.

"We have enough guys that have been around our program ... I really didn't say a whole lot," he said. "If they're not going to take it upon themselves to start competing, then we have a much bigger problem." 

Emporia took advantage on a lead-off walk in the first by Hayden Baumwart and Riley Wagner drove him in on a single.

Jace Stewart extended Post 5's lead in the third with an RBI triple.

The Aviators tied the game at two on a two-run single after Post 5 had a double play, but was called back due to a foul ball.

Wichita took the lead in the fourth on consecutive singles and a fielder's choice.

Even with a three-run deficit, Post 5 managed a two-out rally in the sixth. With the bases loaded, Emporia knotted things up at five with Hunter Groh scoring on a passed ball and Baumwart drove in two on a single. 

Cade Kohlmeier earned the win on the mound, going 5.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits, while striking out four. Ethan Garate pitched the final 1.2 innings of shutout baseball.

"I thought (Cade) did a good job, even though he didn't have his best stuff, in terms of his off-speed pitches," Markowitz said. "He kept competing and putting the ball in the zone. Ethan came in and did a really good job of throwing strikes." 

Groh went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Jace Stewart and Wagner combined to go 4-for-6 with two RBIs.

Post 5 (5-0) will play Ottawa at 7 p.m. this evening in its second game of the Sam Ellis Classic. 

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