Three first-times among field for American Legion World Series

Photo courtesy of Paul Dotson

Courtesy of The American Legion

SHELBY, N.C. — The field for the 91st annual American Legion World Series includes three teams making their first ALWS appearances and one team returning from last year’s tournament.

Coach Pat Mooney’s Creighton Prep team from Omaha, Neb., returns eight players from a squad that went 1-2 in pool play last summer. They’ll open tournament play Thursday against Henderson (Nev.) Post 40, which scorched the Western Regional for 66 runs in five games.

Thursday’s opening slate of games will also include a matchup of two programs in their first ALWS appearance, as Mid-Atlantic Regional champions Hopewell Post 339 of New Jersey face North Carolina’s Randolph County Post 45, winners of the Southeast Regional.

Here’s a look at each of the eight teams in this year’s ALWS:

Northeast Region — Shrewsbury Post 397, Mass.

Record: 34-6

ALWS: First appearance

Notes: Shrewsbury took advantage of two errors to score three unearned runs in a 5-1 win over fellow Massachusetts team Braintree in the regional championship game, avenging an earlier 8-7 loss. While Shrewsbury’s regional batting average (.274) is the lowest of the eight ALWS qualifiers, their pitching (2.27 ERA, 37 K’s) and fielding make them a challenging opponent.

Mid-Atlantic Region — Hopewell Post 339, N.J.

Record: 38-9

ALWS: First appearance

Notes: Luke Blair hit two home runs in the regional, including a two-run insurance shot in a 10-6 win in the championship game against Ephrata (Pa.). William Karp stole four bases in five attempts at the regional.

Southeast Region — Randolph County Post 45, N.C.

Record: 38-8

ALWS: First appearance

Notes: Opponents scored just 10 runs against Randolph County in the regional, with three pitchers — Bobby Weary (1-0), Chase Webb (1-0) and Cameron Reid (2 saves)—boasting 0.00 ERAs. Trevor Marsh led the offense in regional play, batting .632 with eight RBIs, three doubles and a triple.

Mid-South Region — Bryant Post 298, Ark.

Record: 39-7

ALWS: Last appearance in 2007

Notes: None of the eight ALWS teams was more dangerous on the basepaths than Arkansas, which stole 12 bases in six regional games. Logan Allen was 4-for-5 on steals and also tripled twice, while Dylan Hurt had four of the team’s 10 doubles.

Great Lakes Region — Midland Post 165, Mich.

Record: 40-2

ALWS: Last appearance in 2015

Notes: Michigan’s Jordan Patty threw 12 strikeouts in just 9.1 innings in the regional as Midland returns to the ALWS for the third time in four years. The program won the title in 2009 and was runner-up in 2015.

Central Plains Region — Creighton Prep, Neb.

Record: 54-6

ALWS: Last appearance in 2016

Notes: This is the fourth straight year that a team from Omaha has reached the ALWS. Creighton Prep didn’t lose a game in the regional.

Northwest Region — Lewiston Post 13, Idaho

Record: 39-11

ALWS: Last appearance in 2001

Notes: Lewiston won five straight after falling in the regional opener to reach the ALWS for the sixth time in program history. The team capped the streak with three runs in the final two innings of a 6-5 championship game victory on Aug. 5.

Western Region — Henderson Post 40, Nev.

Record: 54-7

ALWS: Last appearance in 2006

Notes: Henderson scored 30 runs in the regional opener and cruised from there. Ryne Nelson and John Howard Bobo each scored 10 times and Jerry Smith had 10 RBIs. Henderson’s pitchers also threw 45 strikeouts, led by Trever Berg (11) and Nelson (10).


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