Tupelo, Mississippi was undefeated heading in to Game 13, but tough defense and big bats from Eden Prairie, Minn., gave the Mid-South regional champions its first loss. Meanwhile, Las Vegas is gunning for its second World Series crown in the past four seasons.
Before Game 12 got under way, a Gold Star family was recognized on the field at Keeter Stadium. Twenty-nine-year-old Army Chief Warrant Officer Terry Lee Vernadore, II, died while fighting the war in Afghanistan on April, 23. His wife gave birth to their second child less than a month ago. His parents proudly accepted the Gold Star banner from National Commander Jimmie L. Foster during a standing ovation.
Game 12: Las Vegas 7, Midland, Mich., 1Word around Keeter Stadium is that to beat Las Vegas you have to get runs on the scoreboard from the start. Midland did just that, leading 1-0 by the third inning, but Las Vegas kept the team scoreless thereafter, putting an end to Midland's 2011 Legion Baseball season.
"If we get on top of our opponents, we are trying to shut them down," said Las Vegas second baseman Justin Jones.Las Vegas got its jump on Midland in the bottom of the third when Midland's pitcher Nate Kuehne gave up six hits and two walks, allowing Vegas to plate six runs and build a 6-1 lead. Erik VanMeetren had two RBIs, and John Sewald, AJ VanMeetren, Michael Blasko and Cody Roper one RBI apiece.
VanMeetren slammed his first home run of the Series in the fifth inning to make the score 7-1.
"We just stayed aggressive and tried to do our job when we have guys in scoring position," Jones said. "It's an amazing feeling to be here, especially when we all know the kids who won (the World Series) in 2008. And if we win it too, it's going to be huge for us."
Midland, the 2009 American Legion World Series champions in Fargo, N.D., had runners on base eight out of the nine innings, yet Las Vegas knocked them off on double plays.
Las Vegas (50-9) had 11 hits and three errors. Midland (46-9) had six hits and one error.
Game 13: Eden Prairie, Minn., 14, Tupelo, Miss., 4Eden Prairie put together back-to-back six-run innings in a game shortened to seven innings because of the 10-run rule.
Down two runs heading in to the sixth inning, RBI singles from Eden Prairie's Ryan Maneke and Danny Blasy tied the game at 4. Four additional runs came across home plate, three of those RBIs being split between Blake Schmit and Tony Skjefte. It was the first time Tupelo trailed since the tournament got under way.
Eden Prairie pitcher Lance Thonvold shut down Tupelo in order in the top of the seventh inning, and in the bottom of the inning Eden Prairie scored five quick runs for a 13-4 lead. Then with the bases loaded, Tyler Ruemmele singled to right field and brought Tyler Peterson home for the 10-run margin, ending the game.
"I was just looking for a pitch that I could drive," Ruemmele said. "It's been our goal the entire season to get back here and being in the same position that we were in last year is a great feeling."
Eden Prairie was last year's World Series runner-up in Spokane, Wash.
Short stop Blake Schmit, second baseman Tony Skjefte and center fielder Danny Blasy had three RBIs apiece.
Eden Prairie (41-8) had 15 hits and one error. Tupelo (32-10) had eight hits and two errors.
Tuesday's World Series Championship game (all-games EDT):Game 14: 5 p.m. Las Vegas vs. Eden Prairie, Minn.Gave 15: 8 p.m. Tupelo, Miss. vs. Winner of Game 14
For highlights of Monday's games, click here.