Tavyn Lords’ solo home run in the 10th inning nudged his Idaho Falls Bandits ahead and they went on to defeat the Bozeman, Mont., Bucks 5-1 on Sunday at Harris Field in the title game of the American Legion Northwest Regional baseball tournament.
With the win, the club from southern Idaho punched its ticket to the Legion World Series, which will begin later this week. The Bucks saw their season end.
The Bandits’ Randon Hostert was named tournament MVP, a nod to him pitching his second no-hitter of the tournament earlier Sunday, to help the Bandits win a loser-out game over Kennewick, Wash., in seven innings, 3-0.
“I hadn’t had a no-hitter since my freshman year and then to throw two in a row, it was pretty cool for sure,” Hostert said.
In the championship game, the Bandits’ closer, Jaxon Sorenson, earned the win after going the final four innings while giving up just one hit.
“We just weren’t able to generate anything,” Bozeman coach Garrett Schultz said.
Neither team could for much of the title game.
Bruer Webster pitched the first 5ž innings for Idaho Falls, scattering five hits while giving up one run. And Bozeman starter Brady Higgs was even better, pitching 6 frames without giving up an earned run (though Idaho Falls did notch an unearned run).
Lords’ homer, his fourth of the season, led off the 10th and went to center field.
“The homer was kind of a big exhale moment for me,” Idaho Falls coach Ryan Alexander said. “We were getting a little short on our bench players.”
“I just got a barrel to it,” Lords said, “and as soon as (the homer) left, I just didn’t remember a thing.”
In case Lords forgot, here’s what happened next: Four batters later, Alex Cortez hit a two-run triple to push Idaho Falls’ lead to three. And the next batter up for the Bandits, Tanner Webb, hit a run-scoring double to give his team its final difference (and the cycle for that inning).
Sorenson finished the Bucks (54-18) off in the bottom of the 10th by retiring the side. The last two outs were fly-outs, with Webster hauling in the final one.
The Bandits (56-6-1) will open the World Series facing Fargo, N.D., on Thursday in Shelby, N.C. It’s their first trip to the national tournament.
Sunday was the first extra-innings title game in the Northwest Regional since 1997.
Idaho Falls 000 100 000 4—5 11 1
Bozeman 001 000 000 0—1 6 3
Bruer Webster, Austin Charboneau (6), Jaxon Sorenson (7) and Tavyn Lords, Caden White, Nick Layland. Brady Higgs, Finn Snyder (7) and Alton Gyselman.
Idaho Falls hits — Bruer Webster, Tavyn Lords (HR), Randon Hostert 2, Andrew Gregerson, Jaxon Sorenson, Alex Cortez (3B), Caden White, Nick Layland, Tanner Webb (2B), Easton Taylor.
Bozeman hits — Kelher Murfitt, Michael Freund 2, Alton Gyselman, Preston Fliehman, Samuel Schmidt.
Kennewick 000 000 0—0 0 3
Idaho Falls 000 300 x—3 8 0
Jacob Anderson and Nick Layland. Randon Hostert and Jackson Lind.
Kennewick hits — none.
Idaho Falls hits — Bruer Webster 2, Randon Hostert, Andrew Gregersen (2B), Jaxon Sorenson, Alex Cortez, Nick Layland 2 (2B).