As two-time defending American Legion World Series champion, Idaho Falls (Idaho) Post 56 knows it will get everybody’s best shot.
And after Post 56 lost its Thursday ALWS opener to Omaha (Neb.) Post 1, another loss likely would have ended its hopes of pursuing an unprecedented three-peat.
Fortunately for Idaho Falls coach Ryan Alexander, 2021 George W. Rulon American Legion Baseball Player of the Year Nate Rose was ready and able to help extend the Bandits’ season.
Rose survived an early run and a couple of late-game jams and his team’s offense got untracked behind him for a 6-1 victory on Saturday afternoon over Chesapeake (Va.) Post 280.
“At this point, it’s ‘win or go home’ basically,” said Rose, who went 6 2-3 innings with seven strikeouts for the pitching win. “We just have to get the job done. Everybody in the dugout played their role and we found a win.
“Tomorrow is another ‘win or go home’ deal and our guys know that. We’ll come and play our game and play with energy. The competition here is really good.”
Idaho Falls closes out pool play on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. against Midland (Mich.) Post 165.
Post 56 improved to 40-10 overall and 1-1 in the ALWS as Eliot Jones (2 hits, double), Chandler Robinson (2 hits, double, 2 RBIs), Merit Jones (3-run home run), R.J. Woods (RBI single) and Nick Horvath (double) led Idaho Falls’ 7-hit offense.
Merit Jones’ 3-run first inning home run gave Idaho Falls the lead for good; Post 56 added one run in the third and two in the fourth.
Chesapeake, which fell to 19-5 overall and 0-2 in pool play, was led by Cooper Newell (2 hits, 1 RBI). Post 280 meets Omaha on Sunday at 4 p.m. in its final pool play contest.
Rose, who was lifted after 106 pitches with two outs in the seventh, did his best work in the fifth and sixth innings as he wriggled out of jams.
Chesapeake put runners on first and second with none out in both innings but Rose struck out the first three batters in the Post 280 lineup in the fifth inning and got a pop-up, a strikeout and a groundout to escape the sixth inning.
“Everybody’s coming after us,” Rose said. “We just have to play our game. It’s a little different and a little more pressure because we are holding that back-to-back title. But, you know, we have a goal and we’re trying to do what we have to do to get it done. Today we did that.”