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ALWS Game 4: Nevada cruises in opening day nightcap

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The last team to make it to Shelby, N.C., for the American Legion World Series didn’t let their late arrival slow them down.

Las Vegas Post 40 didn’t get to Shelby until Wednesday because of flight cancellations. In the final game of opening day of the 92nd ALWS, they routed Meridian (Idaho) Post 113, 10-0, on Thursday.

Winning pitcher Jimmy Gamboa got the run going when his two-out double in the bottom of the second inning scored leadoff batter Chaison Miklich. Gamboa scored when the next batter, Colby Smith, reached on an error. That made it 2-0 after two.

Las Vegas built the advantage to 6-0 after three when Parker Schmidt scored on a single by Miklich, Zach Czerniawski doubled to score Edarian Williams, and Smith doubled to drive in Miklich and Czerniawski.

Las Vegas added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth, capped by Gamboa singling in Miklich, to make it 10-0. And when Meridian failed to score in the top of the fifth, the mercy rule kicked in to wrap the game.

Gamboa held Meridian to two hits and struck out nine while going 2-for-3 at the plate himself. Las Vegas tallied 12 hits as a team, with Miklich going 3-for-3 and Schmidt 2-for-3.

“We barreled up a bunch of balls tonight, so it was nice to see us come out,” Las Vegas coach Paul Buboltz said. “Travel was a little tough for us getting out here, and I didn’t know how that would affect us, but we had a nice (batting practice) session coming out.

“It was good to get a win, but it’s just one game. Every game is the biggest game of our season here on out,” Buboltz added.

The breaks of the preset pool play schedule means that Thursday’s four winners will face each other in their second games. In the Stripes Division, opening game winners Wilmington (Del.) Post 1 and Gonzales (La.) Post 81 will face each other at 4 p.m. Friday. The Stars Division teams have Friday off, but Las Vegas will face Midland (Mich.) Post 165 at 1 p.m. Saturday in a battle of unbeatens.

Friday’s other game, at 7 p.m., will match Braintree (Mass.) Post 86 and Dubuque County (Iowa) Post 137.

Follow the American Legion World Series on Twitter, Facebook and use the hashtag #ALWS18. And follow along here. The ALWS mobile app makes it easy to follow game coverage. The app, available through the Apple Store and Google Play, keeps baseball fans connected with game schedules, pairings, scores, video highlights, photos and more.


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ALWS Game 3: Michigan rallies to top North Carolina

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It looked for awhile like the streak of shutouts on opening day at the American Legion World Series would continue.

While Midland (Mich.) Post 165 was struggling for hits, Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45 took advantage of timely hitting to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning in Game 3 Thursday.

But with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Midland scored twice. The Michigan squad scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth and tacked on four more in the sixth to win 7-2.

The first two games at the 92nd ALWS were shutouts, with Wilmington (Del.) Post 1 winning 3-0 in Game 1 and Gonzales (La.) Post 81 notching a 1-0 victory in Game 2.

Randolph County, the designated away team in Game 3, didn’t get a hit until Braxton Davis singled with one out in the top of the third. But Blake Marsh followed with a single, and after Davis was thrown out at second, Tristan Marsh walked and Dawson Painter doubled to drive in Blake Marsh to make it 1-0.

Randolph County added a run in the top of the fourth when Spencer Lanier’s double drove in Trevor Marsh.

Meanwhile, Midland had mustered just one hit at that point, a single by Adam Randall in the bottom of the second. But after Midland’s first two batters in the fourth struck out and grounded out, Seth Gower reached on an error, Brandon Smith drew a walk and Randall doubled to drive in Gower. Jeff Allen and Logan LaCourse each were hit by pitches, with LaCourse’s free base pushing Smith across home plate to tie the game 2-2.

Randolph County’s Tristan Marsh doubled and Painter drew a walk in the top of the fifth, but Midland pitcher Garrett Willis forced a groundout and a flyout to end the threat.

In the bottom of the fifth, leadoff batter Nick Dardas was hit by a pitch, and after a sacrifice bunt by Tyler David, Martin Money singled to score Dardas for a 3-2 lead.

Midland added to their lead in the sixth, as LaCourse scored on a wild pitch, Nelson scored on a single by David, and Dardas and David scored on a single by Smith.

Willis allowed five hits and struck out six in 6 1 / 3 innings to earn the victory. Randolph County’s Bryce Marsh tied a record with four hit batters in the loss.

When pool play continues in the Stripes Division on Saturday, Randolph County will face Meridian (Idaho) Post 113 while Midland takes on Las Vegas Post 40.

Follow the American Legion World Series on Twitter, Facebook and use the hashtag #ALWS18. And follow along here. The ALWS mobile app makes it easy to follow game coverage. The app, available through the Apple Store and Google Play, keeps baseball fans connected with game schedules, pairings, scores, video highlights, photos and more.


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ALWS Game 2: Louisiana edges Massachusetts in 1-0 duel

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The decisive play in the pitchers’ duel between Gonzales (La.) Post 81 and Braintree (Mass.) Post 86 came, fittingly enough, with a pitcher at the plate.

Gonzales ace Jack Merrifield singled in the only run he and his team would need as he outdueled Braintree’s Kyle Gray 1-0 Thursday in Game 2 of the American Legion World Series.

“He pitched great, our defense is great, their defense was great, it was just a fun, good game,” Merrifield said after he and reliever Preston Thrash combined to hold Braintree to four hits.

Merrifield’s heroics at the plate came one batter after Brayden Caskey was tagged out at home on Zane Zeppuhar’s flyout in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“In a game like that, you just want to make sure you score first,” Gonzales coach Martin Luquet said. “You get the guy thrown out at home and you think the inning is gonna disintegrate. Then Jack comes out with a two-out hit, and he’s been fabulous all year with two outs.”

Merrifield’s two-out single drove in Thrash, who reached on an error after Caskey’s leadoff single.

“I knew he was kind of working me outside, and I knew that he was going to give me a little bit more off-speed,” Merrifield said of his at-bat against Gray, who allowed five hits in six innings to take the loss. “I kept pulling it; I wanted to go the other way but it just didn’t end up working out that way.”

It worked out well enough, though, to send Gonzales into Friday’s pool play matchup with fellow Thursday winner Wilmington (Del.) Post 1. Braintree (0-1) will face Dubuque County (Iowa) Post 137, which lost to Wilmington 3-0 in Game 1.

The back-to-back shutouts were the first on opening day of the ALWS since 1967, and Gonzales’ win came in the 24th 1-0 decision in Series history.

“Our team batting average is pretty gaudy, but we have played these before. Matter of fact, the (victory) to get here was 1-0. We’ve been here, we understand what it takes, we didn’t panic. Sure, we’d like to win 6-0, but it’s baseball; things don’t always work like that,” Luquet said.

Luquet pulled Merrifield for Thrash when the starter reached 80 pitches, thereby keeping him available for Monday’s semifinals based on American Legion Baseball pitch count rules.

“We were hoping he’d throw that last pitch for a strike, and he bounced it, so we had to go to the reliever, who’s been great for us all year,” Luquet said.

Follow the American Legion World Series on Twitter, Facebook and use the hashtag #ALWS18. And follow along here. The ALWS mobile app makes it easy to follow game coverage. The app, available through the Apple Store and Google Play, keeps baseball fans connected with game schedules, pairings, scores, video highlights, photos and more.


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The American Legion: Fund troops over parade

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Denise H. Rohan, national commander of The American Legion, issued the following statement regarding the military parade scheduled to occur in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 10:

“The American Legion appreciates that our president wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops. However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veterans Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible,” she said.

 


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Military OneSource extends benefits to 365 days after separation

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The Department of Defense announced Aug. 13 that it will extend eligibility for Military OneSource benefits from six months to one year after separation from military service. The change ensures that servicemembers and their families have access to this support during their transition to civilian life. The change went into effect with the signing of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act of 2019.

Military OneSource offers a variety of services designed for the military community. These services include relocation assistance, financial planning, health and wellness coaching, confidential non-medical counseling and consultations for spouse employment and education. The program is provided free of cost to active duty, National Guard and reserve servicemembers, their families and survivors. The program was designed to help military families succeed in both their military and post-service lives.

“Each person is unique, and so is each military-to-civilian transition,” said. A.T. Johnston, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. “We want all of Military OneSource’s resources to be there when someone needs them — whether it is a day, a week or many months after their transition to civilian life.”

“Military OneSource is powered by people with extensive knowledge and training in meeting the needs of our military community, many of whom have also served or lived in military families,” said Lee Kelley, program director of the Non-medical Counseling Program Office within military community and family policy. “We’re dedicated to providing expert, proven and practical support and information to our servicemembers and their families to help them achieve their goals and live their best military life.”

Servicemembers, veterans and family members can call Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647 or go to www.militaryonesource.mil.


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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.