The Idaho Falls Bandits travelling baseball team won the American Legion World Series on August 21.
The Bandits won their first regional tournament this year and went on to take home the championship in the first ever World Series win for an Idaho team.
“It was a surreal moment,” said Ryan Alexander, the coach of the team. “The other coaches and staff, we just kind of sat back off to the side and soaked it in… it was phenomenal.”
The team’s mantra this year was to “earn it” and Alexander shared that the team truly did earn the championship title.
“They go into practice and games with the mentality that they are going to give everything they have while on the field, one pitch at a time,” Alexander said. “To me the one constant is to earn it, to work hard and to do what is necessary to help your team win.”
The Bandits finished their season with 61 wins, six losses and one tie.
“What is crazy about this group is they probably hate losing more than they like to win,” Alexander said.
It was reported to Alexander the staff and facilities operators were impressed with the Idaho Falls teams’ behavior.
“I hear all the time how worried people say, ‘this generation’ is this, or ‘this generation’ is that,” Alexander said. “I had a front row seat to a really good “this generation” group of men, and they are fantastic.”
A majority of the team members have graduated high school and are moving onto college sports teams of their own, with a smaller pool of teammates returning next year, the Bandits are hoping to gain more talent to compete at the World Series again next year.
“It is kind of a reset in some ways, we have some returners and we have a really good group coming up that gives us hope that we can compete again,” Alexander said, “we expect to compete every year for this opportunity.”
The original World Series-winning Bandit team members will reunite later this year as they are celebrated on the field during game four of the MLB World Series. The Idaho Falls Bandits will also have a display in the Baseball Hall of Fame for the next year.