Legion Baseball Player of the Year helped lead 1st Alabama team to win title since 1967
Brooks Bryan knew Troy (Ala.) Post 70 had a winning tradition when he joined their program this season.
What he didn’t understand was just how star-crossed the team had been in national competition until he and his 2022 teammates took matters into their own hands and changed it.
That’s why there was such joy and celebration after Tuesday’s American Legion World Series title following Troy’s 6-5 come-from-behind win over Idaho Falls (Idaho) Post 56.
It was Alabama’s first ALWS championship since Tuscaloosa won the state’s first title in 1967.
“I really didn’t know how much Alabama had struggled until we started looking it up after we won the regional,” said Bryan, whose Post 70 team was making its first ALWS appearance and Alabama’s fifth overall appearance. “We were like, ‘We haven’t won it awhile so let’s do it.’”
Post 70 did so in historic, nail-biting fashion.
Not only did Troy win three straight must win games after trailing, Post 70’s victory after trailing 5-0 in Tuesday’s final is the largest deficit overcome in ALWS championship game history.
“If you ask these guys years from now what’s the best thing they’ve done, I bet they’ll say, winning this and being in this environment,” Troy coach Ross Hixon said of Post 70’s ALWS title run at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C. “It’s created 18 lifelong Legion fans from this team. They’ll watch this tournament the rest of their lives now because it’s that good of a product.”
Bryan was honored for his contributions to that championship effort by being named 2022 George W. Rulon American Legion Player of the Year and to the all-tournament team.
A December 2021 signee with Troy University out of Opelika High School, Bryan hit .500 in national American Legion Baseball tournament competition with one home run and 11 RBIs.
He also helped Troy win its sixth straight Alabama state title and first regional and ALWS titles.
In Shelby, Troy routed Shrewsbury (Mass.) Post 397, 13-1, in six innings in its opener before losing 6-3 to Camden (S.C.) Post 17.
That made each of their next three games must-win contests if Troy was to reach its lofty goal of an ALWS title.
Trailing 3-0 after 5 1-2 innings, Post 70 scored four times in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat League City (Texas) Post 554 to win their division.
In the semifinals, Troy again fell behind 3-0, this time against Midland (Mich.) Post 165, before rallying for a 5-3 victory.
And in Tuesday’s championship game, Post 70 was behind 5-0 after two innings before scoring three times each in the third and seventh innings to rally past two-time defending champion Idaho Falls. The last two runs of the seventh inning rally came after two outs.
Idaho Falls was seeking to become the first team in ALWS history to win three straight titles.
“I’ve got to give it up to my coaches,” Bryan said. “Coach Russ (Hixon) and coach D.J. (Laws) always keep us in it. And we don’t ever give up no matter what. We played hard to the very end in every game. And we came back to win in the last three games.”