Troy (Ala.) Post 70 had worked for years to get to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C.
Once there for Thursday’s first round of pool play, Post 70 made quite an opening statement in a 13-1 win over Shrewsbury (Mass.) Post 397.
The game was shortened to six innings by the 10-inning mercy rule.
“They played good,” Troy coach Ross Hixon said of his team, which improved its record to 29-5. “Just walking out on the field, warming up on the field, they weren’t shellshocked at all. And you don’t really know until you get out on the field.”
The winner of the last six Alabama state titles, Post 70 had been pursuing an ALWS appearance for years, even after advancing to the regional final in 2018, before becoming the final team to qualify on Sunday with a game that ended near midnight East Coast time in the Mid-South Regional championship game.
In Thursday’s game, Troy starter and winner Douglas Johnson pitched a four-hitter with four strikeouts, two walks and one run while using 77 pitches.
“Pitching set the tone,” Hixon said. “Doug Johnson did what he’s done all season long. We felt really good with him out there in Game One.”
Eight of Troy’s nine batting spots reached base at least once — and the batter who didn’t had a sacrifice fly.
Tanner Taylor (2 hits, 4 RBIs) and Shelton Arroryo (1 hit, 2 RBIs) led the 10-hit attack that also got baserunners on one fielding error, four walks and three hit batters.
“For me, the biggest thing for is looking up there and seeing only one error,” Hixon said of his defense. “And that was with two outs in the last inning with nobody on. They made some mistakes (four errors) that kind of opened the door for us. We usually score in bunches when we get some extra chances.”
Will Powell had an RBI double and Darryl Lee an RBI single in Troy’s four-run second inning, Taylor had an RBI double in the two-run third and Arroryo a two-run double and Taylor a two-run single in the seven-run sixth.
For Shrewsbury (28-7), Chris Pompei, Jimmy Railsback, Pat McManus and Andy Gardner had base hits, with Gardner’s two-out RBI single in the second driving in Post 397’s run.