The Oklahoma Outlaws had to go through two of the top teams in Nebraska on Sunday to capture the 46-team American Legion College World Series tournament.
The Outlaws defeated host KB Building Services (Omaha Westside) 9-1 in the championship game behind the pitching of Dalton Tillison. The squad from Midwest City, Okla., reached the final after defeating PI Midwest (Omaha Creighton Prep) 2-0 in a semifinal.
“We know that we just played two of the best teams in the state,” Outlaws coach Doug Weese said. “This is a tough tournament to win, so I’m really proud of our guys.”
Oklahoma, which won the Legion World Series in 2010, broke the championship game open with a five-run third. That was more than enough offense for Tillison, who tossed a five-hitter in the game shortened to six innings by the mercy rule.
“They’ve always got a good team,” KB coach Bob Greco said. “They’re big and strong, but they’re a team we need to play if we want to reach our goals.”
Greco, who guided Westside to the Class A varsity crown in the spring, watched as his Legion team struck for a run in the first inning. Jake Meyers led off with a walk, stole second and scored on a single to center by Devin Stueck.
Tillison avoided further damage by picking off Stueck and then retiring Drew Fitzmorris and Mike Waldron.
Alex Nielsen held the Outlaws scoreless through the first two innings with the help of Meyers, who made a diving grab in deep right-center field on a drive by Joel Davis. But Oklahoma broke through in the bottom of the third after KB left the bases loaded in the top of the inning.
Nine batters went to the plate for the Outlaws, with the big blow coming on a two-run double to left-center by Davis. Cameron Normore and Josh Rulette also had RBIs while another run scored on a wild pitch.
Tillison limited KB to three hits the rest of the way — a fourth-inning double by Will Frei, a fifth-inning double by Stueck and a sixth-inning single by Frei. The red-haired left-hander kept KB at bay despite exerting a lot of energy, loudly grunting after almost every pitch while losing his cap.
“Most everybody calls him ‘Big Red,’ but I call him ‘Spaceyman,’” Weese said. “I think he needs some double-sided tape to keep that cap on his big head.”
The Outlaws put the game away with a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Hunter Heath had a two-run single in the final inning and Rulette added an RBI double that ended the game.
Weese said the Oklahoma squad, a regular competitor in the annual tournament, also captured the title in 2006 and 2008. The Outlaws went 8-0 in Omaha to improve to 31-3 overall.
“We love coming up here,” the coach said. “It’s always a great tournament, and it was that way again this year.”
KB, which defeated the 52s Patriots (Millard South) 3-2 in the other semifinal, went 7-1 in the tourney and is 21-5 overall.
“We appreciate the fact they come up here so often,” Greco said. “They’re a tough team, and that makes our tournament that much better.”
KB Building Services (21-5) ........................... 100 000—1 5 1
Oklahoma Outlaws (31-3) ........................... 005 013—9 8 0
W: Tillison. L: Nielsen. 2B: KB. Frei, Stueck. O, Smith, Davis, Rulette.