ALWS Game 10: Alabama rallies to reach semifinals

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Troy (Ala.) Post 70 became the second 2022 American Legion World Series semifinalist on Sunday afternoon.

And Post 70’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory over League City (Tex.) Post 554 meant head coach Ross Hixon could finally take a deep breath shortly after the game’s final out.

“It feels good to breathe a little bit,” Hixon said after his team improved to 2-1 in pool play and took their division’s top seed into Monday’s semifinals. “It was a heckuva baseball game. If anybody missed it, they need to re-watch that.

“We just look forward to the opportunity to win two more games and win a national championship.”

It was a game in which both teams had chances to win.

But it was Troy (30-6) that came up biggest when it most needed to.

After yielding three runs in the top of the sixth inning, Post 70 responded with four runs in the bottom of the sixth then reliever and winner Press Jefcoat retired three of the four batters he faced in the seventh to seal the victory.

Shrewsbury (Mass.) Post 397 is the division runner-up and will meet the opposite division’s champion at 4 p.m. Monday, with Troy facing that division’s runner-up at 7 p.m.

Troy, making its first ALWS appearance, will become the first team from Alabama to finish among the top four in the ALWS since Dothan tied for third in 2002. Tuscaloosa is the only other Alabama team to do as it finished as runner-up in 1966 and was ALWS champion in 1967.

Hixon said his team was predictably shaken after yielding three runs in the top of the sixth inning on Tristan Zarella’s two-out, three-run double.

“They gave us an absolute knockout punch but they didn’t quite seal the deal and left the door open,” Hixon said of League City. “I mean, hats off to my guys. They were down. I won’t say beat. But definitely down but just not out of it.

“I reminded them we had six outs left. And we put some at-bats together and made some things happen.”

Did they ever.

Brooks Bryan led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. After an out, Shelton Arroryo, Reigh Jordan, Tanner Taylor, Douglas Johnson and Drew Shiver combined for five more singles, with Johnson driving in one run and Shiver two to tie the score at 3.

Then, Will Powell hustled out his slow rolling grounder that was nearly an inning-ending double play to drive in the winning run with an RBI groundout to score Johnson from third.

In the top of the seventh, Jefcoat allowed a leadoff single before getting a strikeout, a groundout and a pop up to end the game.

“It’s really exciting to get to this point,” Hixon said. “This team is writing a legacy. I told them before the game that we were going to get their best and we were going give our best. That’s exactly what happened.”

Shiver (2 hits, 2 RBIs) led Troy’s 5-hit offense and Travis Bragg (2 hits) and Zarella (3-run double) led the 3-hit offense for League City (30-4).

Troy starter Jackson Tucker was impressive in his 5 2-3 innings with 10 strikeouts while allowing one hit, six walks and one hit batter before he reached the pitch-count limit and was replaced.


American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers more than 5,400 teams in all 50 states, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

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