One semifinalist at The American Legion World Series had to win a three-way tiebreaker to survive pool play. Two others battled in Sunday’s final game, with one already assured a semifinal berth and the other needing to win to advance. And the fourth has simply won every game they’ve played in Shelby, N.C.
Here’s a look at Monday’s semifinals in the ALWS:
Game 13: Bryant (Ark.) Post 298 vs. Henderson (Nev.) Post 40, 3 p.m.
It was win or go home for Bryant (Ark.) Post 298 in Game 12 Sunday night. When Hopewell (N.J.) Post 339 defeated Lewiston (Idaho) Post 13 in Game 11, that left both those teams with 1-2 records. A Bryant loss to Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45 would have left Bryant with a 1-2 record as well, and they would have lost a tiebreaker to Lewiston in that scenario.
But after failing to take advantage of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the second inning, Bryant finally broke through with a three-run sixth in a 5-0 win that earned them the Stars Division title.
While Randolph County’s home state ties have earned them the largest cheering section this week at Keeter Stadium, Bryant had a boisterous fan base themselves Sunday night. Bryant will try to bring their home state a second consecutive ALWS title; Texarkana Post 58 won the championship last year, Arkansas’ first.
Henderson (Nev.) Post 40 won a three-way tiebreaker for second place in the Stripes Division. Henderson, Shrewsbury (Mass.) Post 397 and Midland (Mich.) Post 165 all finished 1-2 in pool play.
With all three teams losing to Omaha, those results were thrown out to determine the tiebreaker. Each team finished with a combined zero-run differential in those head-to-head games, and Henderson had the lowest combined run average allowed of 0.07 after giving up just one run in 14 innings.
Las Vegas Post 76 won Nevada’s lone ALWS championship, defeating Pasco (Wash.) Post 34 7-6 in 2008, the first Series played in Shelby.
Game 14: Omaha (Neb.) Post 1 vs. Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45, 7:30 p.m.
A rain delay Saturday night means Omaha (Neb.) Post 1, whose pool play games had been scheduled for Thursday-Friday-Saturday, will end up playing for the fifth straight day as they try to reach the championship game on Tuesday.
Omaha played in last year’s ALWS but returned just six players from that squad, which finished pool play 1-2 and missed out on a semifinal berth by tiebreaker. The last Nebraska team to reach the championship game was also Omaha Post 1, in 1965 — a 2-1 loss to Charlotte (N.C.) Post 9 in Aberdeen, S.D. That’s also the last time a North Carolina team won the title, the last of four championships taken home by state teams.
Omaha Post 1 won the ALWS in their hometown in 1939, defeating Berwyn (Ill.) 5-2.
This year’s team tallied a near-record 21 hits in an opening 9-1 win over Nevada, jumped out early then held on for a 6-3 win against Michigan, then rallied past Massachusetts 8-5 in a game played over two days because of rain.
“I’m just proud of the way the boys have handled themselves,” Omaha coach Pat Mooney said. “They’ve taken some huge strides all year long. If you could have seen us in the spring to where we are now, it’s a complete different group of guys, and I’m proud of them.”
Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45 entered the final game of pool play undefeated, but the hitting issues they overcame in a 4-1 win over Lewiston (Idaho) Post 13 on Saturday cost them in a 5-0 loss to Bryant (Ark.) Post 298 on Sunday. Randolph County had just five hits against Lewiston and three against Bryant after smacking 13 hits in the opener against Hopewell (N.J.) Post 339.
Still, the North Carolina team has something of a home crowd advantage that could give them a boost against the only other team that started 2-0 in pool play.