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Southern Nevada rolls to American Legion World Series

Last week the Southern Nevada Blue Sox proved they were the best in Nevada by winning the American Legion state baseball title.

Sunday they proved they were the best in the west.

The Blue Sox rolled to a 11-2 victory against St. George (Utah) in Denver, and won the American Legion west regional tournament. The Blue Sox became one of the eight teams in the country to qualify for the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina.

The Blue Sox will play their first game Thursday at 10 a.m. against Creighton Prep (Nebraska) on ESPN 3.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the team right now,” Blue Sox coach Scott Baker said. “We’re on a really good run.”

The last time the Blue Sox lost was July 16 against Aliso Niguel in Aliso Viejo, California. The Blue Sox went undefeated in league play over the summer (17-0), then did not lose in either of the double-elimination state or regional tournaments.

On Sunday, St. George pounced to a 2-0 lead but it didn’t last long. The Blue Sox scored one run in the bottom of the first and tied it in the fourth. The game remained at 2-2 until Roger Riley’s sacrifice groundout put the Blue Sox up for good in the seventh.

But, in typical Blue Sox fashion this tournament, they did not stop there. They scored two more runs in the seventh to take a 5-2 lead, then exploded for six runs in the bottom of the eighth to dim any hope of a St. George comeback. It was the second time these teams met in the tournament, with the Blue Sox having won 7-6 in 11 innings on Friday.

The Blue Sox dominated the western regional, outscoring opponents 66-18 in their five games.

“It’s been so fun to watch,” Baker said. “They’ve all bought into it and hitting’s contagious for sure. Moving runners and playing so unselfish for sure creates runs.”

The Blue Sox will look to become the first national champion from Nevada since the Southern Nevada Titans, made up of Bishop Gorman players, in 2008, the first time a Nevada team took home the title.

“Legion starts off with 4,000 teams and now we’re down to eight teams,” Baker said. “It’s a big deal, I know it’s a big deal and this group knows it’s a big deal. We’ve been talking about this for the last five or six years.”

Contact Justin Emerson at jemerson@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.

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