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ALWS Game 3: Idaho Falls breaks open game late to earn victory

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Box Score

Scoreless through three innings, Idaho Falls, Idaho Post 56’s offense woke up for multiple runs in each of the remaining innings on its way to a 7-3 victory over Fargo, N.D., Post 2.

Pitchers were the story early with Idaho Falls’s Caden Christensen and Fargo’s Blake Anderson dealing early.

The first real threat of the game came in the bottom of the third when Idaho Falls put two runners on twice with the heart of its lineup coming up. Fargo catcher Chandler Ibach gunned down a runner trying to steal third and Christensen induced a groundout to get out of trouble.

That left the scoreless into the fourth, when Fargo broke through.

After each of the first nine Post 2 batters made outs, the top of the lineup rallied to get a run across the second time through the lineup. Zach Kluvers got the team's first hit of the game with a one-out liner to center and went to third on a Cole Hage double. Brayden Koenig did his job and hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Kluvers and give Fargo the lead.

Idaho Falls responded in the bottom of the frame as Andrew Gregersen walked and a Jaxon Sorenson single caused trouble for the North Dakota defense, allowing Gregersen to come around to score. After a walk, Sorenson was able to come home on a single by Nick Layland.

“We hit the ball hard the first three innings, we just couldn’t find any holes,” Sorenson said “We tried to work counts and get a few free bases and got a few big hits and we needed them.”

Anderson's high pitch count forced an early removal despite a good start. He finished with a line of 4.0 innings, five hits, two earned runs and five strikeouts but racked up a high pitch count including four walks.

In his place, Austin Manuel came on in relief and was greeted rudely by the Northwest champions. Tavyn Lords worked a walk and regional tournament MVP Randon Hostert moved him to second with a single on an 0-2 count. Gregersen intended to move the two runners along, but his perfect bunt caused a wild throw to double the lead. Jaxon Sorenson walked to load the bases and a pair of sacrifice flies from Alex Cortez and Nick Layland made the lead 5-1.

With a four-run lead, Idaho Falls chose to remove Christensen after 5.1 innings at 59 pitches, saving him for Sunday’s game per PitchSmart mandatory rest guidelines. If he had pitched 61 or more pitches he would be required to have three days of rest and be ineligible to pitch for the remainder of the pool play games this weekend. He finished with just one run allowed on three hits through 5.1 innings.

Jace Hanson, on in relief, allowed one runner in the rest of the sixth inning but got a diving stop from Cortez at shortstop and a strikeout to end the frame.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Hostert fell behind in the count 0-2 once again but battled, fouling off three pitches before padding the lead with a two-run home run to left field, bringing home Lords who was hit by a pitch.

“All game they worked the curveball so I sat on that and adjusted to fastballs and just tried to foul them off and when I got the curveball I got a couple of hits,” Hostert said.

Fargo didn’t go quietly in the seventh however, loading the bases with one out without a hit and then getting a two-run single to pinch hitter Jonas Sanders on an 0-2 count.

Another walk brought the tying run to the plate requiring Sorenson to come in and induce a double play to end the game.

“I just came and tried to get the ball over the plate and throw strikes and let my defense work behind me,” Sorenson said.

Both teams are off Friday but return for games Saturday and Sunday. Idaho faces Massachusetts on Saturday and North Carolina Sunday while North Dakota has the same opponents on the inverse days. All games will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

With a day off, Hostert said he would continue to enjoy the experience, saying, “It’s awesome, they do a great job here in Shelby and put on a great show for the players, coaches and families. It’s a great event to be a part of.”


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ALWS Game 2: Missouri uses well-rounded effort to win

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Box Score

Seven players for Festus, Mo., Post 253 had hits and pitcher Brendan Smock only allowed two hits over six innings in a 4-1 win over Albuquerque, N.M., Post 13 on Thursday.

Festus broke through in the top of the second. Singles on consecutive pitches by Chuck Pratt and Isack Hamilton brought home Colby Ott and Eddie Martin to give Festus a 2-0 lead.

“I have been going up and looking to hit the ball hard and make solid contact and going up with a smooth swing and it’s been working well,” Hamilton said.

Festus added to the lead in the third when Jake Leitner brought home Levi Ebersoldt on a hard-hit single through the left side.

Smock was dealing for Missouri, getting through the first three innings unscathed, retiring all nine Albuquerque batters.

New Mexico threatened for the first time in the fourth, getting a leadoff single from Marquez Monez and, after a flyout, Benito Garcia was hit by a pitch. Both moved up a base on a wild pitch, setting up two in scoring position with one out. Smock recovered with a strikeout and covered home on a pitch in the dirt that Hamilton blocked and recovered in time to make a toss to Smock at the plate to end the inning.

Jordan Duncan further extended the lead in the fifth inning with an odd trip around the bases. He reached by hitting a line drive off of the runner at first for an out. He then went to second on a wild pitch, stole third and came home on an error on the ensuing throw.

Albuquerque got a run across in the bottom of the fifth on a sharply lined hit to shortstop, but left fielder Colby Ott gunned down a runner trying to advance to third on the play and second baseman Jordan Duncan turned a nice double play to end the threat.

Smock finished with six innings pitched, allowing just two hits and one run, while striking out four.

“I gave up too many free bases but I had my offspeed working and that helped me get through six innings,” Smock said postgame. “My defense has been really good all year. I rely on them a lot since I don’t strike that many out and I pitch to contact. They have helped me out a ton.”

He turned the game over to Duncan to close out the game and the right-hander earned the save to lock down the victory.

For Missouri, it was an ideal start in the state’s first ALWS appearance in ten years. In that tournament in Fargo, N.D., Smock’s uncle played for Festus.

“He just told me to enjoy the moment and cherish it,” Smock said.

On Friday, New Mexico looks to rebound against 0-1 Danville, Ill., Post 210 at 4 p.m., while Missouri faces Destrehan, La., Post 366 in the 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

Hamilton seemed confident, saying, “I think if we just play our game and just go out there and have fun we have a pretty good chance of winning this thing.”


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Pence to address Legionnaires at national convention

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Vice President Mike Pence will address delegates at the 101st National Convention of The American Legion in Indianapolis.

Pence, who was governor of Indiana before becoming vice president, will speak to American Legion Family members at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Halls A&B of the Indiana Convention Center.

During last year’s 100th national convention in Minneapolis, Pence delivered a 25-minute speech to Legionnaires. He covered a variety of veterans issues including health care, benefits and national security.

Pence, the son of a Bronze Star recipient from the Korean War and the father of a U.S. Marine, has a long association with The American Legion. In 1977, he won The American Legion Department of Indiana’s Oratorical Contest.


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ALWS Game 1: Big bats power Louisiana to big win in World Series opener

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Game 1 Box Score

The middle of the lineup for Destrehan, La., Post 366 Pedal Valves Cardinals helped power the team to its first-ever trip to the American Legion World Series (ALWS) and the big bats in the middle made an impact in the opener of the ALWS, as well.

The Southeast champion, powered by four home runs, topped Great Lakes champion Danville, Ill., Post 210 by a score of 12-1 in six innings.

Josh MacCord went the distance for Louisiana, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out three, but he got plenty of help from his offense, predominately the number three and four hitters for the Cardinals.

Stephen Klein and Ron Franklin each went 7-for-13 (.538 batting average) and reached base in 12-of-18 plate appearances (.667 on-base percentage) in five regional games for Louisiana, and the duo each had four runs batted in Thursday in the ALWS opener.

Louisiana got on the board early with three runs in the top of the first. T.J. Thomas singled and moved to third on a sacrifice and a fielders choice. After a Klein single brought Thomas home, Franklin, who hit both of Louisiana’s home runs in the regional, stayed hot with a two-run blast to the opposite field make the game 3-0.

“Coming into this game we had a lot of confidence and we were anxious to play,” Franklin said. “Today as a team we had a very good effort everywhere. We played very good defense and stepped up defensively. All we wanted to do was step up on the defensive side and it came along with the bats.”

Illinois got one back in the bottom of the frame when a Chase Vinson single brought home Ernest Plummer.

It didn’t take long for the Cardinals to restore their three-run lead, however, as Kolby Bourgeois hit a 377-foot homer to make the score 4-1.

The Cardinals kept the momentum going in the third and once again it was Klein, the Most Valuable Player of the Southeast Regional tournament. The right fielder took a low 2-0 pitch over the right field scoreboard for the team’s third home run of the game.

In the top of the fifth, it was Franklin again, lining a bases loaded single up the middle to bring around Gavin Freeman and Nick Lorio. After a wild pitch, Kolby McWilliams brought home Klein on a sacrifice fly. Bourgeois brought home Franklin.

In the sixth, Nick Lorio brought home Gavin Freeman and then came around on Klein’s second home run of the game.

“Right now the whole team is really swinging well now. We like to fight and play our game,” Klein said.

That margin proved enough for MacCord to shut the door in the sixth and end the game due to the American Legion Baseball 10-run rule.

“MacCord has been doing well ever since the first start he had. He hit his spots and pitches his game,” Klein said.

Franklin added of the pitcher, “Every time MacCord is on the mound we know we’re going to get 100 percent effort from him every game.”

Both teams are in action on Saturday, with Danville looking to rebound against Albuquerque, N.M., Post 13 at 4 p.m., and Destrehan following against Festus, Mo., Post 253 at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re going to take each game one at a time and play our game,” Klein said. “If we play our game of baseball and don’t get nervous we will be perfectly fine.”


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Legion holds DSO School to better serve America's veterans, their families

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The American Legion held its Department Service Officer (DSO) School for the year Aug. 8-10 in conjunction with the organization's National Membership Workshop in Indianapolis. DSO School is geared for accredited American Legion service officers at the regional, county and state levels. Accredited service officers are specially trained to provide expert VA claims and benefits assistance, free of charge, to veterans and their families.

Leading the curriculum for DSO School was Glenn Bergmann with Bergmann & Moore, a law firm in Maryland that focuses on veterans' disability benefit claim appeals and helps veterans and their families navigate the VA claims system. In the video above Bergmann talks about the education and technology delivered to help Legion service officers continue serving veterans and their families. K. Robert Lewis, department service officer for Connecticut, shares how DSO School helps attendees better serve America's veterans and their families.

To find an accredited American Legion service officer in your area, please visit online at www.legion.org/serviceofficers.


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