SHELBY, N.C. — In four American Legion World Series games leading up to a showdown against Chapin-Newberry, South Carolina, Jesuit-based Retif Oil allowed a total of seven runs and did not yield a home run. On Tuesday, Retif starter Mason Mayfield recorded just one out before allowing a two-run blast to tournament MVP Justin Hawkins, and Chapin earned the first World Series title for a South Carolina-based team since 1936 with a 9-2 win.
“The ball was supposed to be extended off the plate, and it just backed up on him a little bit,” Retif coach Joey Latino said. “You have to give Hawkins credit. Good hitters are going to hit mistakes, and he hit it a long way.”
Retif cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the first. Nick Ray led off with a single, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on Ben Hess’ single out of the reach of Chapin third-baseman Landon Allison.
Then the pitchers took over, firing scoreless innings in the second, third, fourth and fifth.
In the sixth inning, Mayfield wasn’t himself.
Having thrown more than 200 pitches since starting Retif’s World Series opener Friday, Mayfield allowed a single by Kevis Burton leading off the sixth. After a flyout to the warning track in center field by Ryan Stoudemire, Allison’s liner to right-center field fell just in front of the diving Hess.
Blake Smith’s hit up the middle scored Burton to make it 3-1.
Todd Crabtree replaced Mayfield but couldn’t find the plate. Back-to-back walks made the deficit three runs, and after a pop out, Peyton Spangler was hit by a pitch to force in a run and make the score 5-1.
“Mason kind of ran out of gas,” Latino said. “It looked like he elevated a few. Once we got in that 5-1 hole, it was going to be a tough dig out. The kid they brought in second, (Ryne) Huggins, is probably their best pitcher, and it just made it tough on us.”
Huggins allowed a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth that cut the deficit for Retif to 5-2. Alex Galy walked and moved to second on a balk. He scored on pinch hitter Jake Licciardi’s single to right field.
Chapin put the game away in the top of the eighth inning. Duncan Crotwell led off with a deep fly to left-center field. Outfielders Mark Beebe and Scott Crabtree collided. As the ball was retrieved, Crotwell hustled for third and was safe when the relay throw was dropped.
After Zach Ziesing walked, Danton Hyman’s squeeze bunt back to the mound was gloved by Brandon Briuglio. He tried to toss the ball straight from his glove to home plate, but the throw sailed high, and Crotwell scored.
Peyton Spangler followed with an RBI single, and with one out Burton drove in two with a single to make it 9-2.
Huggins picked up the win, working 4.2 innings and allowing one run on two hits while striking out five.
Mayfield took the loss, surrendering five runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings.
“Look, this is part of what baseball teaches you,” Latino said. “It teaches you life lessons. One of life’s toughest lessons is how to deal with a loss.”
Retif finished the year at 35-8. Chapin went 32-1, their lone loss coming against Retif on Saturday.
Plans for a police escort to welcome the Chapin players back home were being formed during the game’s final innings. Chapin is 100 miles south of Shelby.
AMERICAN LEGION WORLD SERIES
Medford, Ore. 3, Brooklawn, N.J. 2
Midland, Mich. 12, Cromwell, Conn. 1
Waipahu, Hawaii 5, Millard, Neb. 4
Retif Oil 2, Cromwell, Conn. 1
Medford, Ore. 3, Millard, Neb. 2
Chapin-Newberry, S.C. 2, Midland, Mich. 1
Medford, Ore. 2, Waipahu, Hawaii 1
Retif Oil 5, Chapin-Newberry, S.C. 2
Brooklawn, N.J. 15, Millard, Neb. 1
Chapin-Newberry, S.C. 7, Cromwell, Conn. 6
Brooklawn, N.J. 3, Waipahu, Hawaii 2
Retif Oil 2, Midland, Mich. 1
Chapin-Newberry, S.C. 4, Medford, Ore. 3
Retif Oil 4, Brooklawn, N.J. 3, 10 inn.
Championship: Chapin-Newberry, S.C. 9, Retif Oil 2