Idaho Falls (Idaho) Post 56 coach Ryan Alexander is well aware his team is a target.
It’s been that way for the Bandits of Post 56 all season, as the two-time defending American Legion World Series champions. It will certainly be that way again over the next week as Post 56 vies for an unprecedented third straight title in Shelby, N.C.
“It’s a privilege to have the target, which we’ve had since our district play to our state play to the regional play. It’s a privilege to have that type of pressure to play in each game. (The players) really have embraced it, and played well with it,” Alexander said.
Alexander said the Bandits are “grateful” to be back in Shelby for the ALWS.
“We have seven kids that were here last year; not one of them take this opportunity for granted,” Alexander said.
The returning Bandits include 2021 George W. Rulon American Legion Baseball Player of the Year Nate Rose, fellow All-Tournament pick Merit Jones, Ryan Horvath, Eliot Jones, Davin Luce, Chandler Robinson and R.J. Woods.
Their experience, plus the crucible that was the Northwest Regional, have Alexander optimistic about his team’s preparation for the ALWS.
“Our regional tournament kind of prepped us for the level of competition, the level of grind that the World Series requires. We had five one-run games, three of which were walkoffs. We had to work hard,” he said.
Alexander said his team is excited to give the players who weren’t part of last year’s championship team “the opportunity to see what all this is about.”
“I’ve been so looking forward to coming to Shelby,” he said before namedropping a local soda. “Sundrop, it’s a delicacy for me. I love it.”
Post 56 faces Omaha (Neb.) Post 1 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night to cap off the first day of ALWS action.