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Knights capture state American Legion title on Newson’s homer

Andrew Newson hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Las Vegas Knights a 14-11 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Saturday night in the American Legion state baseball championship.

The top-seeded Knights (44-8-1) squandered an 8-5 lead in the eighth and fell behind 11-8 in the ninth. But behind a power-packed lineup that scored 64 runs and hit .414 in the tournament, they tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and forced extra innings.

“We’ve learned to live in the land of the uncomfortable, that’s been our mantra all season,” Knights manager Gino DiMaria. “We’re a young team, but somehow, someway we’ve figured it out. We find ways to win. We’ve jelled leading up to this, and tonight they showed us how well they’ve matured.”

Knights reliever Bronson Bowe got the victory, and Aces reliever Chase Adams took the loss.

Newson, who was 3-for-7 with five RBIs and three runs scored, was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He hit .563 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. The Knights’ Matt Mitchell was named Most Outstanding Pitcher.

“Andrew has been a big stick for us and a guy we could rely on all the time,” DiMaria said. “I’d be happy for any one of my guys. I’d be confident with anyone in that position, but it didn’t surprise me to see Andrew hit the game-winning shot. He showed true mettle up there tonight for us.”

The Knights advance to the Western Regional, which begins Wednesday in Boulder, Colo.

After falling behind 3-0 and 4-2, the Knights used a four-run fourth inning to take control. The power-packed lineup from Bishop Gorman put its first four batters aboard, highlighted by leadoff hitter Nicholas Israel’s single to right that scored two. Jorel Hingada followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, and two batters later, Newson roped an RBI-double to deep left.

The Knights added a run in the fifth and seventh innings. But the Aces (33-13) tied the score 8-8 in the eighth. With the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Chris Van Kuren stroked a bases-loaded triple that pushed the second-seeded Aces in front of the Knights.

The Aces scored first, as Alex Tafesh stroked a one-out single down the left-field line and Brett Brocoff followed with a double. Chase Adams hit a grounder to third baseman Marques Paige, whose throwing error allowed Tafesh and Brocoff to score. Gage Ventura’s sacrifice bunt brought Adams home to give the Aces a 3-0 lead.

The Knights answered in the second when Nick Hernandez led off with a home run. They loaded the bases and cut the lead to 3-2 when Israel’s sacrifice fly scored Jordan Sadovia.

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