Third baseman Tyler Parks of Randolph County Post 45 makes a catch on a popup during the first day of the American Legion state tournament. Shortstop Tanner Marsh, right, and left fielder Adam Cole, back, also pursue the play. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
Randolph County’s season will continue in Southeast Regional on home field
BUIES CREEK – It started swell and ended with a thud for Randolph County Post 45 in the American Legion baseball state tournament this week.
Post 45 was the lone undefeated team in the eight-team tournament through the first two days. By the time the first semifinal ended Friday, Randolph County had been eliminated.
Queen City topped Post 45 by 6-1 at Campbell University.
But unlike other teams that fail to win the tournament, Post 45 has more games to play.
Randolph County (29-11), as the host team, will play in the eight-team Southeast Regional that begins Wednesday at McCrary Park in Asheboro. Post 45 has a 6:30 p.m. game against the South Carolina state champion on the opening night of that five-day event.
Wilmington Post 10, which drubbed Fuquay-Varina 14-4 in the second semifinal in the North Carolina tournament, is slated to take on Queen City (24-8) in Saturday afternoon’s title game with a berth in the multi-state Southeast Regional at stake.
Following a 12-game winning streak, Randolph County lost three of five games during an eight-day stretch.
In the state tournament, Post 45 was tied with Fuquay-Varina and Cherryville after the pool play, all with 2-1 records. Only two could advance to the semifinal round, with Randolph County dubbed the No. 1 seed from the pool based on the fewest runs allowed in the first three games. Fuquay-Varina also advanced.
It turned out to be back-to-back losses for Post 45, which fell 7-3 to Cherryville on Thursday. Starting pitcher Trey Way took the loss. He also provided a run-scoring double, while Alex Martinez had an RBI single for Post 45.
Randolph County began the tournament with Tuesday’s late-night triumph against host Fuquay-Varina. The 6-0 result came behind Robert Garner’s 6 1/3 innings of pitching combined with Tanner Marsh’s two RBI, Josh Meadows’ triple and Adam Cole’s two hits.
Post 45 kept the momentum going Wednesday afternoon by defeating Hope Mills 6-1 behind solid pitching from Blake Marsh, Parks and Connor Adams. Parks and Cole both drove in two runs during a five-run third inning.