ALWS Game 14: Near no-hitter sends Nevada to championship game
Las Vegas, Nev., Post 40 celebrates its win over Gonzales, La., Gauthier Amedee Post 81 in game 14 of The American Legion World Series at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C., on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo by Chet Strange)

ALWS Game 14: Near no-hitter sends Nevada to championship game

A long Monday ended in smiles for Las Vegas Post 40.

The Nevada team got a near no-hitter from starting pitcher Jimmy Gamboa and cruised into the championship game at The American Legion World Series with a 6-1 win over Gonzales (La.) Post 81 Monday night in the semifinals.

Las Vegas will face Wilmington (Del.) Post 1 in the championship game at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

In a sense, Las Vegas was playing its second game of the day after their pool play finale against Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45 didn’t end until the wee hours of Monday morning. But there was no sense of exhaustion from the Nevadans.

“We were full of energy today,” Gamboa said.

Perhaps none more so than Gamboa, who put on the second stellar starting pitching outing of the semifinals. In Monday night’s first game, Wilmington’s Jack Dubecq took a perfect game into the bottom of the seventh inning before Midland (Mich.) Post 165 rallied to tie the game and force extra innings.

In Game 14, Gamboa didn’t have to worry about a perfect game, with Jack Merrifield reaching on an error in the bottom of the first inning for Gonzales (44-7).

Otherwise, Gamboa was cruising for Las Vegas (50-16).

“My fastball, my offspeed (were working) … my offspeed I was just painting, getting them to whiff,” said Gamboa, who struck out nine.

But Gonzales finally got to him in the bottom of the seventh. Preston Thrash’s two-out single broke up the no-hitter and drove in Blaise Foote, who had drawn a leadoff walk.

“I got a little fatigued. At that point I was just trying to get it over the plate as best as I can,” Gamboa said.

“I wanted (the no-hitter) for him,” Las Vegas coach Paul Buboltz said. “Obviously he’s a big-time pitcher in a big-time spot, I’m sure he’s thinking about it a little bit out there. It’s tough as a 17, 18-year-old kid in that kind of spot, but he did a phenomenal job all night. … three pitches for strikes all night, he took care of a good lineup all night.”

It helped that Gamboa’s teammates were hitting the ball well. Las Vegas pounded out eight hits, including a two-run home run in the fourth by Chaison Miklich. Las Vegas also chased Gonzales starter Merrifield in the fifth, when a walk on Jordan Demarce and consecutive singles by Jason Sharman and Parker Schmidt loaded the bases. With two outs, Merrifield walked Aaron Roberts to score Dearce and make it 4-0. Austin Bankert relieved Merrifield but walked Gamboa, to score Sharman, and Zach Czerniawski, to score Schmidt, to make it 6-0.

Gamboa completed the 15th one-hitter in ALWS history.

This is the second consecutive team sponsored by Nevada Post 40 to reach the ALWS title game. Henderson won last year’s title.

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American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers more than 5,400 teams in all 50 states, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

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