And then there were eight. From a field of over 3,600 teams, the top team in each region has earned a trip to Shelby, N.C., for the 2017 American Legion World Series, Aug. 10-15.
The eight remaining teams are Shrewsbury (Mass.) Post 397, Hopewell (N.J.) Post 339, Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45, Bryant (Ark.) Post 298, Midland (Mich.) Post 165, Creighton Prep (Neb.), Lewiston (Idaho) Post 13 and Henderson (Nev.) Post 40.
Here is a recap of regional play:
Champion: Shrewsbury Post 397
The hosts had to win two games back-to-back to reach Shelby and came through in a big way to please the home crowd. In the day’s first game, Shrewsbury topped Stamford (Conn.) 6-2, to earn a rematch with the other Massachusetts team, Braintree. The two teams were the final unbeatens in the region and battled to an exciting 8-7 final in Game 11, with Braintree taking the win. Shrewsbury got revenge with a 5-1 win in Game 15, earning a bid to Shelby.
Champion: Hopewell (N.J.) Post 339
Hopewell earned a bye to the championship game by being the last unbeaten team and awaited the victor of the tight game between Ephrata (Pa.) and the host team, Leesburg (Va.). After an 8-6 decision went the way of Pennsylvania, New Jersey’s bats woke up, scoring 10 runs in a four-run win.
Champion: Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45
Randolph County, undefeated through Saturday, had two cracks to beat Florida on Sunday for a bid to Shelby, but only needed one. The sequel didn’t live up to the hype of the first matchup, 5-4 in Game 11, as the host team cruised to a 15-2 victory. Post 45 will have a short drive to Shelby, just over two hours away.
Champion: Bryant (Ark.) Post 298
The Mid-South regional was played at four different fields due to weather conditions and various conflicts and it required all 15 games to complete. Bryant didn’t know its opponent until Game 13 when waking up Sunday morning, but did know that two wins would be needed to advance. After Leplace (La.) beat Oklahoma, that meant Arkansas would play the victors for a shot to play Oklahoma in the title game. Bryant won two closes ones, 5-2 and 3-0, to earn the bid to Shelby. Bryant competed in the 2007 ALWS.
Champion: Midland (Mich.) Post 165
Midland sat patiently as Danville (Ill.) and Indiana battled for a right to face the last unbeaten in the decisive Game 15. After Danville earned a 9-4 win, Michigan dispatched of the tired side, 13-1, to coast into the World Series. This will be Midland’s third trip to Shelby. The team was the runner-up in 2014 and appeared in 2011. In 2009, Midland won the penultimate World Series at a rotating site, hosted by Fargo, N.D.
Champion: Creighton Prep (Neb.)
Creighton Prep’s closest game on its way to an undefeated winner’s bracket tournament came against Iowa in a battle of undefeateds in Game 11, winning 8-7. Sunday’s title game was a little more comfortable, as the Omaha-based team earned a second consecutive trip to Shelby with a 7-2 win. This marks the fourth straight year in which a team from Omaha has reached Shelby.
Champion: Lewiston (Idaho) Post 13
Idaho won two games on Sunday to earn the program’s sixth trip to the World Series and the first since 2001. First, Post 13 dispatched of Washington, 8-5, after falling behind early. In the championship game, two runs in the ninth helped Idaho walk off against the host team, Missoula. A single through the left side finished the rally after a double in the gap leveled the contest.
Champion: Henderson (Nev.) Post 40
Run totals from Henderson’s five games in Denver: 30, 9, 7, 9, 11. This offense is one to watch in Shelby as Nevada cruised to an 11-2 win over Utah in the title game, finishing the bracket undefeated. The team finished with a .395 batting average, .492 on-base percentage and slugged a stellar .559 over the course of five days.