The rules of pool play in tournament competition can create some interesting scenarios.
Sunday was one of those days for Ridge, Md., in what became its 2021 American Legion World Series finale.
Even as Ridge Post 255 easily handled Fargo, N.D., 8-3, it knew it had to hold Fargo to zero or one run if it wanted to advance into Monday's semifinals.
That's why the biggest roar from the crowd at Keeter Stadium at Veterans Field in Shelby, N.C., came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Fargo Post 400 scored its second run.
It meant Honolulu, Haw., had edged Ridge, Md., in a tiebreaker for second place behind Tupelo, Miss., in the Stars Division among teams that all finished with 2-1 records in pool play.
"We just happened to be in the bracket with all of the 2-1 teams," Ridge coach Tyler Kimmey said. "We tied for scoring the most runs. We just fell a couple of runs short on what we needed for runs allowed. I'm proud of these guys."
Per ALWS rules, if three teams tie in pool play, the first tiebreaker is runs allowed.
Tupelo and Honolulu each allowed seven runs in their three games while Ridge yielded nine.
Ridge finished with 16 runs after its victory to close out its first-ever ALWS appearance.
"What a season of firsts for us," said Kimmey, whose first-ever Maryland state champions and first-ever Mid-Atlantic Regional champions finished 27-3 overall. "Since July 4, we've only lost one game — and that happened to be the other day (5-2 to Honolulu).
"I think we had a great season."
Kimmey also complimented Fargo, which finished 0-3 in pool play, for its determination to play hard with no future games possible for Post 400.
"You've got to hand it to them," said Kimmey of Fargo, which trailed 5-0 and 6-1 before closing within 6-3 and leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning. "They didn't roll over and put forth a great effort."
Leading Ridge to its victory was Phillip McCarthy (two hits, one RBI), Demetri Jamison (two hits, one RBI), Shawn Cameron (two hits, one RBI) and Chase O'Dell (two hits, two RBIs) on offense and starter Ethan Ledig (four innings, four strikeouts) and reliever Tyler Quade (three innings, two strikeouts) on the mound.
For Fargo, which finished 24-23-2 overall, Kobe Senn and Andy Mach had two hits apiece with Easton Rerick scoring the pool-deciding second run after a leadoff double in the fifth inning on Colten Alme's RBI single.