By the time teams get to Shelby-Cleveland County for the American Legion World Series, most of them will have played about 50 games; some will have played closer to 70 games. But all of them typically will have won five games at the substate level; five games at the state level and five games at the regional level. Once at Keeter Stadium, they’re faced with winning five games to become the ALWS Champion.
Every team plays by the same rules set by American Legion Baseball, which is overseen by the National Americanism Commission. However, the number of games per regular season is determined by the teams themselves. For example, Shelby’s Post 82 team plays 27 or 28 games per season, 18 of them in the Area IV League and the rest against other teams the coaches deem will hone the players’ skills. Other leagues may play only 12 games. The number is determined primarily by how many teams are in the league and how many times they play each other.
The journey to the ALWS varies from state to state. Pennsylvania, for example, has 500 teams (North Carolina fielded 63 in 2013) and the state has county tournaments, district tournaments, regional tournaments, area tournaments and finally a state tournament with eight teams. Connecticut with 150 teams has a 64-team state tournament; New Jersey has a 32-team state tournament. Nearly every state uses a double-elimination tournament to determine the winner.
Whatever the route taken to the ALWS, all eight regional winners have proven they deserve a chance at the championship! Welcome to Veterans Field, where the grass is always greener!