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AMERICAN LEGION WORLD SERIES: Title worth the wait for Gorman

SHELBY, N.C. — Bishop Gorman had to wait more than 12 hours to play the American Legion World Series championship game. But once the team got on the field Wednesday morning, neither the rain nor the club from Pasco, Wash., could stop the Titans from winning their first American Legion World Series championship, as Gorman rolled over Pasco, 5-1.

Gorman (75-7-1) completed its sweep of the state, regional and World Series tournaments, winning 21 consecutive games. The Titans were 5-0 here.

"We got hot at the right time," said Gorman first baseman Jeff Malm, the Most Valuable Player of the World Series. "To win every game from the states all the way to here is just unbelievable. I can’t describe it."

Tuesday’s scheduled championship game was postponed because of rain — a remnant of Tropical Storm Fay. The delay didn’t slow the Titans.

Gorman came out sharp, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning on consecutive RBI singles by Scott Dysinger and Paul Sewald. Joey Rickard drove in the third run of the inning when he grounded into a fielder’s choice.

Gorman coach Chris Sheff "kept our heads on straight the whole time," Sewald said. "We were ready (Tuesday) night, we were ready today, and we would have been ready tomorrow."

While the Gorman bats were hot early, Titans pitcher Stephen Manthei was even better. En route to earning a complete-game win, Manthei didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and retired 10 of the final 13 Pasco batters. Pasco scored its run in the ninth.

Manthei "was in control of the game from the first pitch," Sheff said. "I think he really set the tone and allowed our guys to just play without a lot of pressure."

After scoring three runs in the second inning, Gorman added two in the fifth when Malm singled home Neil Lawhorn and the next batter, Johnny Field, drove in Matt Hall on a fielder’s choice.

"Our offense wasn’t anything spectacular today," Sheff said. "But they threw their (No. 1) guy at us, and we got on the board early and kept the pressure on them."

Pasco didn’t overcome that pressure and didn’t mount much offense against Manthei.

"We had some opportunities to make it a close game," Pasco coach Steve Farrington said. "But we just didn’t take advantage of them. They just wouldn’t let us back in the game."

Gorman beat Pasco for the second time in the World Series. The Titans also beat the Washington team 10-8 on Saturday.

"We’ve won a lot of tournaments and a lot of games this season," Sheff said. "But this is a totally different feeling. I don’t think you can top this."

• NOTES — Bishop Gorman had three players named to the all-tournament team — Malm, third baseman Dysinger and right fielder Hall.

Malm was the MVP of the tournament, hitting better than .300 while also pitching in seven games in the postseason — World Series and regional — with five saves. Sewald led the team in hitting in tournament play, batting .459 with 17 hits and 11 RBIs in 10 games. Dysinger slugged .444 with 16 hits and 10 RBIs. …

Sewald is going to the University of San Diego to play baseball next season. He has to be there Saturday. With the weather delays, he said he almost had to leave the World Series early. Malm, a rising senior, has committed to play baseball at Southern California next year. …

The World Series in Shelby was played 45 minutes from Charlotte, N.C., where Sheff once called home. The Gorman coach played minor league baseball for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights in 1996 and ’97. Sheff was an outfielder in the Florida Marlins’ organization but never made it to the major leagues. …

While many fans attended the World Series this week, one man stood above the rest. Chester Kessel, 96, of Murphysboro, Ill., was attending his 48th consecutive American League World Series, with his daughter.

 

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