Entering Sunday’s game, the Southern Nevada Blue Sox knew a win would get them to the championship round of the American Legion World Series baseball tournament in Shelby, North Carolina.
The Blue Sox lost 1-0 to Midland (Michigan) and fell into a three-way tie for second place. But by winning a runs-allowed tiebreaker, the Blue Sox claimed the runner-up position in their bracket and advanced to the championship round.
“We had a really tough bracket, and our hitters are not feeling comfortable now, they’re not confident, and that’s what happens,” Blue Sox coach Scott Baker said. “It doesn’t matter to us how we got in.”
The Blue Sox (55-9) will play Bryant (Arkansas) (45-8) at noon Monday.
Creighton Prep (Nebraska) won the bracket, with the Blue Sox, Midland and Shrewsbury (Massachusetts) all finishing 1-2.
The tiebreaker originally was run differential, but rain forced tournament officials to shorten the games from nine innings to seven after the opening day of play. The officials determined Sunday morning that run differential was unfair to count because games were played with different inning totals and said the tiebreaker of the three 1-2 teams would be runs allowed in games against each other.
The Blue Sox beat Shrewsbury 1-0, so their runs allowed total was one. Shrewsbury beat Midland 3-2 on Friday. The Blue Sox didn’t know until after the game that they had advanced.
“We didn’t know how the tiebreaker was going to go,” Baker said. “They didn’t really tell us this morning. Some of the people asked, the coaches asked, and they said they’d deal with that when it comes about.
“We’re fortunate that our pitching the last two games dominated and gave up just one run.”
The Blue Sox allowed just one hit Sunday — a second-inning double by Midland’s Gabe Denton — and became the first team in World Series history to throw a one-hitter in a loss. Ryne Nelson went all seven innings for the Blue Sox and struck out two batters while walking six.
American Legion World Series
At Shelby, North Carolina
All games on ESPNU
■ Bryant (Arkansas) (45-8) vs. Southern Nevada (55-9), noon
■ Randolph County (North Carolina) (41-8) vs. Creighton Prep (Nebraska) (57-5), 4 p.m.
■ Championship, 4 p.m.