The first-time Maine and Northeast regional champion Trenton Acadians were locked in a pitcher’s duel with defending champion Troy Post 70 from Alabama through four innings of their Senior American Legion World Series game at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, North Carolina, on Thursday.
But a nightmarish fifth inning for the Acadians, in which they allowed eight runs on just two hits, helped enable the Mid-South Regional champs to post a 13-3 victory in a mutual tourney opener.
Trenton will now take on Northwest Regional champ Cheyenne, Wyoming, as the Acadians continue Stars division pool play on Friday at 4 p.m. Cheyenne lost its opener to Western Regional king League City, Texas, 4-0.
Troy Post 70 and League City will square off at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Trenton concludes pool play on Sunday with a 1 p.m. game against League City.
Troy and Cheyenne will finish up their pool play against each other on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The top two teams in the Stars Division will face off against the top two in the Stripes Division (Brooklawn, New Jersey; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Florence, South Carolina) in the semifinals on Monday with the title game slated for Tuesday.
Troy, which captured Alabama’s first American Legion World Series title in 55 years last season in its first appearance at the World Series, parlayed six walks, three wild pitches, two singles, two hit batters and a passed ball into eight runs that ballooned its 2-0 lead into a 10-0 advantage.
Drew Shiver, one of just three returnees off last year’s team, staked Troy to a 2-0 lead by pulling a 3-2 pitch from Craig Burnett over the right field fence after Christian Hill had led off the inning with a base hit.
Connor Cosby’s double and a walk put runners on first and second but Burnett escaped further damage.
In the fifth, Burnett retired the first hitter on a groundout before everything unraveled.
Hill singled to left center and moved to third on a pair of wild pitches. Shiver was hit by a pitch and Connor Cosby drew a walk to load the bases.
Bryce Speakman drew a walk to force in the first run and Burnett was replaced by Brayden King.
Carter Davis walked to force in another run and a passed ball allowed the third run of the inning to cross the plate.
Mason Steele walked to load the bases and Peter Keblinsky was summoned to pitch.
Cason Eubanks and Tanner Taylor each walked to force in two more runs and a Blake Wynn groundout produced another run before Hill capped the rally with a two-run single.
Trenton scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Dawson Curtis singled to left field and Brett Bragdon walked.
Curtis advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Joey Wellman-Clouse’s sacrifice fly.
Hunter Curtis, Dawson’s older brother, then belted a two-run homer to left.
Troy starting pitcher Brody Lindsey was lifted after the Curtis homer and replaced by Aiden Wright, who retired all eight hitters he faced to close out the game.
Wright struck out one.
Troy added three more runs in the seventh.
First baseman Hill went 4-for-4 for the winners. He knocked in two runs and scored three times.
Shiver, Eubanks and Speakman also knocked in a pair of runs and Cosby had a double.
Six Trenton pitchers combined to walk 15 hitters, hit four and uncork five wild pitches. They allowed eight hits.
There were no repeat hitters for Trenton.
Besides the Curtis brothers, the other Acadians with hits were Wellman-Clouse, A.J. Lozano and David Baugh. Hunter Curtis’ homer was the only extra-base hit.