Despite on-and-off rain, all four scheduled games were played to completion Sunday. And it made for an historic day. During Game 9, The American Legion World Series reached a record total paid-attendance crowd of more than 60,000, beating the record established 75 years ago in Spartansburg, S.C.
Game 8: Tupelo, Miss., 3, Gaffney, S.C., 1More than 5,700 baseball fans came back to Keeter Stadium Sunday morning to watch the rescheduled game between Mississippi and South Carolina. It was a quick game, and one swing in the seventh inning gave Tupelo the win.
The game was scoreless heading in to the seventh inning. However, Tupelo shortstop Channing Nanney hit a double to left field and sent right fielder Drew Alford, left fielder Connor Carothers and second baseman Tyler Moore across home plate to take a 3-0 lead.
Gaffney came back with one run by left fielder Dylan Huskey, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit.
Tupelo pitcher Tanner Gaines kept Gaffney players off-balance all nine innings, giving up just four hits while striking out eight.
Tupelo (31-9) had seven hits and zero errors. Gaffney (25-6) had four hits and zero errors.
Game 9: Las Vegas 14, Brooklawn, N.J., 10With bases loaded and two outs, the bottom of the ninth inning could have been a game changer had Las Vegas center fielder John Sewald not dove to catch a line drive from Brooklawn's Joe Brooks that ended the game.
"Bases were loaded, it was a 3-1 count, and I knew I had to be on my toes; it was a hitters count," Sewald said. "I knew ( Brooks) was going to get pitched a fastball, and he was going to look to drive it somewhere. So I was on my toes just looking to get a good jump, and I did and ran it down."
For five innings it looked as though Las Vegas had it in the bag, leading11-2 lead. But Brooklawn rallied in the sixth, seventh and eighth inning to close within 12-10. However, Las Vegas left fielder Erik VanMeetren added two RBIs in the top of the ninth to push Brooklawn back by four runs. And once Brooklawn stepped up to the plate in the ninth, Vegas' tough defense and drive to duplicate its 2008 World Series win ended the Mid-Atlantic regional champions' 45-5 season.
Las Vegas first baseman Erik VanMeetren went 4-6 with four RBIs. Following suit were teammates TJ White, AJ VanMeetren, Michael Blasko and Trey Hoppel, who each had two RBIs.
Las Vegas (49-9) had 15 hits and two errors. Brooklawn, N.J. (45-6) had 15 hits and three errors.
Game 10: Eden Prairie, Minn., 12, Gaffney, S.C., 2Before World Series officials gave the signal to play ball, 19 Blue Star families made an appearance on field for recognition. They received an American Legion Blue Star banner from Patrick McHenry, North Carolina's 10th Congressional District Representative.
Eden Prairie took the lead early and kept it the rest of the game on nearby fan-favorite Gaffney. The Minnesota team put three runs on the scoreboard by the second inning and never stopped, especially when it came to home runs. Tony Skjefte homered in the fourth, Lance Thonvold in the sixth and Ryan Maenke in the ninth, capping a 4-5, four RBI day for Maenke. Pitcher Cameron Mingo claimed the win on the mound, giving up nine hits but collecting six strikeouts.
Gaffney made contact with the bat, but the hits weren't big enough to get the runs they needed to advance in the tournament. Either way, it was still a strong season for the Gaffney players, who won their first state title.
Eden Prairie (40-8) had 18 hits and two errors. Gaffney (25-7) had nine hits and one error.
Game 11: Tupelo, Miss., 8, Midland, Mich., 1Tupelo, Miss., remains the tournaments only undefeated team, as pitcher Brandon Woodruff threw a seven-inning one hitter Sunday evening.
"The first inning I kind of struggled, I couldn't find my groove, I couldn't throw strikes," Woodruff said. "But then I made an adjustment in the second inning, I started getting on top of the ball and throwing more strikes. I tried to get ahead with the fastball and mix in my changeups and sliders."
Tupelo kept Midland off the scoreboard until the eighth inning, when Larsen Cronkright singled to left field, scoring a runner. As for Tupelo, five of its eight runs came in the third inning, when first baseman Cody Shrewsbury, who went 2-for-3, hit a three-run home run, giving him a total of five RBIs for the game.
Tupelo players are proud to make it this far, even though naysayers thought otherwise.
"We come out to play and the thing about it is in the first game against Nevada they didn't pick us to win; it's been like that since regionals," Woodruff said. "People didn't think we could make it. We are just coming out here playing and doing the best to our ability, and we are trying to shock everybody."
Tupelo (32-9) had 11 hits and zero errors. Midland (46-8) had four hits and one error.
Monday's World Series games (all-games EDT):Game 12: 5 p.m., Las Vegas vs. Midland, Mich.Game 13: 8 p.m., Eden Prairie, Minn. vs. Tupelo, Miss.
For photos highlighting Sunday's four games, click here.