Game 15 - August 16, 2016

Shelby, NC - Texarkana, Ark., Post 58 scored four runs in the top of the 12th inning and then survived a rally by Rowan County, N.C., Post 342 to win the American Legion World Series championship game 8-4 Tuesday in front of 8,496 fans at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C. It was the first ALWS title for Post 58 (42-5), which lost its first game in pool play before going on a four-game win streak.

Texarkana’s Nick Myers hit a two-run single in the 12th to break a 4-4 tie, and teammate Parker Ribble followed with a two-run double to give the Razorbacks some breathing room.

Rowan County (41-14) closed to 8-6 in the bottom half of the inning on a Juan Garcia sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk to Chandler Blackwelder with two outs. But relief pitcher Zac Harrington stabbed Dalton Lankford’s sharp grounder to the mound, ran toward first base and then tossed the ball to Will Smith to end the game.

Rowan County wasted no time giving what was more or less a home crowd a reason to cheer. With one out in the bottom of the first, Dalton Lankford reached second on an error. Hunter Shepherd followed with a deep drive to right field that bounced just in front of the fence, bringing Dalton home for a 1-0 lead.

Tanner File reached third on an error to start the bottom of the third and came home on Chandler Blackwelder’s RBI single. Two wild pitches sandwiched around a stolen base brought Blackwelder home to give Rowan County a 3-0 advantage.

A walk and single put Jake Pritchard on third in the bottom of the fourth, setting up File’s perfect bunt single down the first-base line, scoring Pritchard to stretch the lead to 4-0.

But Texarkana used a big fifth inning to tie the game. Parker Ribble opened with a double, Cole Vidrine singled him to third, and Riley Orr bunted himself onto first, bring home Ribble.

Matt Goodheart walked and moved to second when Cole Boyd reached on an error, scoring Vidrine and Orr. Will Smith’s single then brought home Goodheart, tying the game at 4.

Texarkana centerfielder Blake Hall saved a Rowan County run in the bottom of the sixth. Post 342 used two walks to put runners on first and second with two outs. Hunter Shepherd then delivered a shot to center field that Hall fielded cleanly and then fired a bullet to catcher
Will Smith, who easily tagged out File on his way to home plate.

Rowan County returned the favor in the top of the eighth. Texarkana loaded the bases with two outs, but Smith was caught in a rundown between third and home off a 1-2 pitch. He was tagged out, and reliever Bryan Ketchie – who came on in relief of John Owen in the inning – got Austin Cross looking for the third out.

Neither team could score again until Texarkana’s big 12th inning.