ALWS Runner-up: Retif Oilers Fall Short Against South Carolina in American Legion Championship Game, 9-2
Oilers Run Out of Gas… and Magic
Unfortunately for fans of Jesuit American Legion Baseball, there is no fairy tale ending this time around. On Tuesday, Aug. 18, the Retif Oilers fell to South Carolina, 9-2, in the American Legion World Series championship game played at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, North Carolina.
Retif had quite a run and in the end, they had been sprinting the last nine miles. The Oilers strung together nine consecutive wins beginning with the five games in the Mid-South Regional Tournament in Conway, AR, and
extending through the first four games of the American Legion World Series in Shelby, NC. Retif won four of five games in Conway by lopsided scores. Only the regional championship game was a real thriller, a come-from-behind win that propelled the Oilers to the World Series.
Once in Shelby, Retif encountered much stiffer competition. Hits and runs were harder to come by, the cost of errors skyrocketed, and pitches not precisely located resulted in good things for the team batting and things not-so-good for the team on the field. Yet Retif continued to win and was the only team still undefeated after the semifinals. One of the victories, 5-2, was against South Carolina last Saturday. In beating Brooklawn, NJ in the extra-inning semifinal game on Monday, Retif scored the winning two runs in the bottom of the 10th. All the team’s adrenaline, energy, muscle, and spirit were banked in that nail-biter of a game.
The rematch against South Carolina in the championship game was much less dramatic. In the end, an early deficit that got extended in later innings proved to be too high a hill to climb for the Jesuit-based boys.
There have been games where Retif had to get out and push the stalled car to the end of the Causeway. The team thrives on not pushing the panic button. Late inning rallies seem to be a natural occurrence. Retif’s wins, especially the late rally victories, could easily demoralize the other team. But you can say this about those Oilers. They win with style and much grace. However, when they come up short, such as they did in Shelby, it’s ok to shed some tears because they’ve been taught to lose with dignity and with their heads held high.
“It’s hard to put into words how proud I am of this team,” Coach Joey Latino told reporters just before the start of the post-game awards ceremony. “It’s been an incredible journey. Obviously this isn’t the ending we wanted to write for ourselves. We started off the summer 1-4, things weren’t looking too good, and we just kept telling the players that it’s process, it’s process, it’s stay committed and stay dedicated to the hard work, and they did exactly that.
“To end up here playing tonight on this great stage against a great ball club says everything you need to know about this group of boys. I think you let them feel what they need to feel. Losses are tough and that’s one of the life lessons you learn through sports. They’re going to feel this for a while. I always tell them this: when something hurts, it hurts because you care. This group of kids cares about each other, cares about baseball, and they brought that with them to Shelby. I think they showed themselves to this community that they are a very special group of young men.
“South Carolina was the better ball club tonight. They did an outstanding job early in the game… Once we got down 5-1 in the top of the sixth, it was going to be a tough uphill climb… We kept battling, we didn’t quit, we battled them to the last out. We just didn’t have that magic tonight.”
The New Orleans Advocate: Chapin bats too much in 9-2 win over Retif Oil in American Legion World Series championship game