League City (Tex.) Post 554 made a first inning run stand up for a 1-0 victory over Lincoln (Neb.) Post 3 Tuesday night in the 2023 American Legion World Series championship game at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C.
The result gives the Lone Star State its first champion in the 96-year history of the event and came in the fourth 1-0 result in championship game history.
Left-hander Jacob Cyr, who threw the third no-hitter in ALWS history in Thursday’s opening game, was sharp again while throwing his second shutout in six days.
Cyr allowed six hits but worked out of jams in the third and fourth innings behind some exceptional defensive plays.
Lincoln catcher Garrett Springer, who got the first hit off Cyr in the 2023 ALWS with a two-out single to right field in the first inning, came closest to notching a score for Post 3 when he pulled a 2-0 pitch foul over the left field fence with two runners on in the third inning; Springer lined out to second base on the next pitch to end the inning.
In the fourth, Cyr helped himself by grabbing a hard grounder and throwing out a runner trying to go from second base to third.
And rightfielder Ayden Roecker-Allen made a diving grab for an out in the first inning and left fielder Erik Anchondo also had a diving grab in the sixth.
“I just want to give my thanks to my teammates who played so well behind me and the gift that God gave me,” said Cyr, who was named George W. Rulon American Legion Player of the Year in a postgame awards ceremony. “It feels great to be able to take this back to Texas for the first time ever, and especially being able to do it with my brothers on this team.”
A year ago, Cyr was a hard-luck loser in League City’s pool play finale loss to eventual champion Troy (Ala.) Post 70 that ended Post 554’s season.
But Cyr and four other returning players won the Western Regional again this season to make a return to Shelby with the goal of having a better finish.
Did they ever.
One of the other returnees, Kyeler Thompson, scored the game’s lone run.
After drawing a leadoff walk, Thompson advanced to third on a throwing error by Lincoln pitcher Carter Mick and scored on Chase Bourgeois’ RBI groundout.
The rest of the contest was a pitcher’s duel between Cyr and Mick, who allowed four hits and two walks while striking out five in his six innings.
“I feel for our guys,” Lincoln coach Mychal Lanik said. “We just came up a little short.
“I think Carter may have had a little bit of nerves on that throw in the first inning, but then he pitched his heart out. I just wish we would’ve given him two runs.”
Lincoln was trying to win the second ALWS title for Nebraska, and the first since 1939.
For League City coach Ronnie Oliver, the victory is a highlight for a long career.
“To be honest, this is something I’ve been wanting for 37 years and I finally got it,” said Oliver, who has coached League City since 2005 and previously coached Texas City (Tex.). “We just find that way. We’ve had one of those years where we found a way to be successful.”
ALWS championship games that ended 1-0
1931: South Chicago (Ill.) Post 493 d. Columbia (S.C.) Post 6 in Houston, Tex. (14 innings)
1967: Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Post 34 d. Northbrook (Ill.) Post 791 in Memphis, Tenn.
2018: Wilmington (Del.) Post 1 d. Las Vegas (Nev.) Post 40 in Shelby, N.C. (8 innings; 1st season with 7-inning games)
2023: League City (Tex.) Post 554 d. Lincoln (Neb.) Post 3 in Shelby, N.C.