SHREWSBURY – After being knocked out of the Zone 4 playoffs, Shrewsbury Post 397 is heading to the American Legion World Series.
The team had an undefeated run through the Northeast Regional tournament and punched its card to the World Series by beating Rhode Island’s Upper Deck Post 14 on Sunday.
“For us, it was just any other game,” said Zach Amero. “We knew what was at stake, but we’ve got to go out and win the game, got to do our job.”
Last month, the team’s district season came to a close after they fell to Milford. However, the team was still able to compete in the tournament as the host team.
In the end, Shrewsbury went all the way and beat Upper Deck 4-2.
“Absolutely phenomenal,” said manager Frank Vaccaro. “They battled. They came back. They were on a mission.”
He continued, “I’ve got to tell you, if we didn’t win this thing, I would have been totally, totally disappointed for them. I knew we could do it. It was a question of putting it all together at once, and they picked the right time to put it all together.”
The Northeast Regional Tournament, which Shrewsbury hosted at the College of the Holy Cross, kicked off last Wednesday.
Shrewsbury ended up beating Connecticut team Waterford Legion Post 161 13-3 that first game. They went on to beat Upper Deck 3-0, Vermont Post 91 3-1 and Greece, NY, 12-4.
Vaccaro said he was feeling shocked when he realized the team beat Upper Deck, noting that it was the third time the team has qualified in five years.
“We’re going to go to Shelby. It’s a wonderful tournament. We’re going to be spoiled. We hope we’re going to represent Massachusetts and the Northeast really well – and Shrewsbury,” Vaccaro said.
Post 397 is one of eight teams nationwide advancing to the American Legion World Series, which will be Aug. 11-16 in Shelby, North Carolina.
“It’s been a dream of mine,” said Amero. “It’s just a real moment right now. I haven’t felt anything like it.”
Amero said he was happy to be heading to North Carolina with his Post 397 teammates.
“I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else,” he said.
When asked what made the team special, Amero said it was their grit.
“Everybody loves each other,” Amero said. “It really is a brotherhood.”
Now that the team is heading to North Carolina, Vaccaro and Amero shared their thoughts on what their next steps will be and how they will be successful.
Vaccaro said the team would take a break before flying out on Tuesday and practicing in North Carolina on Wednesday.
“Just what we’ve been doing – play for each other,” Amero said. “No one on the team is selfish. We love each other. We’re going to get it done for everyone.”
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