bandits win alws semis

Nick Layland of Idaho Falls celebrates with his teammates after hitting a walk-off single to win a semifinal game at the American Legion World Series.

At Shelby, North Carolina, the Idaho Falls Bandits are headed to the American Legion World Series championship game.

Nick Layland’s infield single with two out in the bottom of the ninth scored Andrew Gregersen with the winning run as Idaho Falls defeated Illinois 4-3 on Monday night, capping two days of rain delays and a wild comeback by Illinois in the semifinal.

Idaho Falls (60-6-1) will play North Dakota at 4:30 p.m. (MDT) for the World Series title.

Following a rainout on Sunday, the Bandits played twice on Monday, defeating North Carolina 4-3 to end pool play, and then facing Illinois in the late-night semifinal that was also delayed by rain.

It’s been a memorable summer full of records and interesting stats for the Bandits, but perhaps the most interesting number came in the semifinal where Idaho Falls had just one hit through nine innings, but still held a 3-1 lead courtesy of a two-run double by Randon Hostert in the third. Layland’s bouncer in the ninth was just the second hit for the Bandits.

Reliever Caden Christensen took the mound in the third for starter Austin Charboneau (2 2/3 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 0 earned) and was sharp into the seventh. With two outs, Christensen had two strikes on Logan Spicer before Spicer slapped a bases-loaded single to left-center to score two runs and tie the game.

The Bandits had a runner on second base in the bottom of the inning but could not push across the winning run.

Gregersen opened the ninth with a single to center. He stole second and advanced to third on a groundout by Jaxon Sorenson. With two out, Layland followed with a grounder up the middle that Illinois second baseman Kota Broeker got a glove on, but couldn’t handle as the ball bounced away behind second base, setting off the Bandits celebration.

“It’s surreal,” Gregersen said in a press release. “We have a great group of guys I have been playing with since I was 8 and I’m just soaking up our last games together.”

In the first game, North Carolina led 1-0 before the Bandits took advantage of an error to tie the game in the fourth.

Idaho Falls had some chances early, but finally broke through with two runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Alex Cortez and a run-scoring hit by Tavyn Lords for a 3-1 lead. Cortez singled in another run in the sixth.

Jace Hanson picked up the win, giving up five hits and one run in five innings. North Carolina scored twice against reliever Andrew Gregersen in the sixth, but Gregersen closed it out in the seventh.

“That was a good team but we had to fight it out,” Cortez said in a press release. “It’s unbelievable. This field, this setup, it’s just awesome to be here,” Cortez said.

IDAHO FALLS BANDITS 4, N. CAROLINA 3

IF 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 – 4 10 1

NC 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 – 3 7 2

BANDITS – Pitchers: Jace Hanson 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 K; Andrew Gregersen 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: Bruer Webster 3-4, Alex Cortez 3-3, Tavyn Lords 2-4. 2B: Webster 2. RBI: Cortez 2, Lords, Sorenson.

NORTH CAROLINA – Pitchers: Trevor Marsh 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K; Dawson Davis 0.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K; Matthew Brewer 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Easton Morgan 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: Harris Jackson 2-3, Marsh 2-3, Morgan 2-3. 2B: Marsh 2. RBI: Spencer Lanier 2, Austin Curry.

BANDITS 4, ILLINOIS 3

Illinois 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 –3 7 2

IF 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1—4 2 1

ILLINOIS – Pitchers: Mason Ecker 6.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 8 K, 3 BB; Dalton Dalbey 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: Chase Rademacher 2-5. RBI: Logan Spicer 2, Kota Broeker.

BANDITS – Pitchers: Austin Charboneau 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 3 BB; Caden Christensen 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 K, 2 BB. Leading hitters: 2B: Hostert. RBI: Hostert 2.

Allan Steele is Sports Editor of the Post Register. Reach him at 208 542-6772 and follow on Twitter at asteele12000