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American Legion World Series (Game Two): After Giving Up 2, Brooklawn's Bats Get Hot

ALWS Game 2: New Jersey rallies past Iowa

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Jack Mustaro of Brooklawn, N.J. Post 72 fields a ball at first during Game 2 of te 2023 American Legion World Series at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C., on Thursday, August 10. Photo by Chet Strange/The American Legion


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SHELBY, N.C. (AUGUST 11, 2023)---Brooklawn, N.J., may be the most frequent visitor in American Legion World Series history.

But Post 72’s 17th all-time appearance this season was their first since 2015 — or when all of their players were in elementary school.

And despite falling behind 2-0 after the first inning Thursday in Game 2 of the ALWS, Brooklawn rallied to roll to a convincing 9-2 victory over Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Post 671.

“It was a good effort,” veteran Brooklawn coach Dennis Barth said. “Our kids didn’t panic and (starter and winner) Tanner (Nolan) settled in and gave us another good start.”

Barth, a former ballboy, player and assistant coach under his father Joe Barth Sr., has been Brooklawn’s head coach since 2001. A program founded by Joe Barth Sr., in 1952 and also guided by Dennis Barth’s brother, Joe Barth Jr., Post 72 has won four ALWS titles, most recently in 2013 and 2014 in Shelby.

This year after winning its New Jersey state-record 31st championship, Brooklawn advanced to the ALWS for the first time since 2015.

After being retired in order in the top of the first inning, Brooklawn yielded two runs in the bottom of the inning to Cedar Rapids on Andrew Robinson’s sacrifice fly and Jace Rickertsen’s RBI grounder.

But Nolan (5 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 6 strikeouts) and reliever Yeager Brasberger (1 1/3 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk) yielded no more runs and Brooklawn’s offense got untracked.

“The kids chipped away and got some big hits in a row,” Dennis Barth said. “Sal (Serici) and Matty (Leahy) and Doug King and some others had big days for us on offense.”

Leahy (3 hits, double, 2 RBIs), Serici (2 hits, 1 RBI), King (2 hits, 1 RBI), Damon Suriani (2 hits, 1 RBI) and Nick Spaventa (2 hits, double, 1 RBI) led a 14-hit offense that powered Post 72 to victory.

Serici got Brooklawn on the scoreboard with an RBI double in the second inning and Post 72 took control of the game with a six-run fourth inning highlighted by Spaventa’s RBI double, King’s RBI single, Leahy’s RBI single and R.J. Mustaro’s RBI single.

Suriani had a RBI single in the sixth inning and Leahy a RBI double in the seventh to close out the scoring.

“They knew what to expect because we’ve been telling them all about it,” Barth said of Post 72’s return to Shelby for the sixth time in the 13 years it has hosted the ALWS. “It’s an awesome atmosphere.”

Kade Knock (2 hits) led Cedar Rapids’ four-hit offense.

Both teams are off on Friday before returning to action on Saturday with Cedar Rapids playing Florence (S.C.) Post 1 on Saturday at noon and Brooklawn facing Lincoln (Neb.) Post 3 on Saturday at 3 p.m.



American Legion WS August 10, Brooklawn Plays Iowa at 1PM; Games Available on ESPN 3