Blake Marsh has been a factor for Randolph County Post 45 in the American Legion baseball playoffs. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
Randolph County Post 45 and Eastern Randolph Post 81 took different paths to reach the Area 3 playoff semifinals for American Legion baseball.
Both ways worked out.
Post 45 rolled to 14-0 and 9-0 victories against Mooresville Post 66 in the best-of-3 quarterfinals.
Post 81 lost its series opener against Stanley County, then recovered to win twice Thursday night to keep its season alive.
Due to field availability issues in Asheboro, Game 1 was played at Mooresville, with Post 45 using Trey Way’s 3-for-4 effort at the plate along with four runs batted in from both Drew Harmon and Tanner Marsh. Robert Garner threw four innings and Braylen Hayes worked the fifth to complete the mercy-shortened five-inning romp.
In Game 2 at McCrary Park, Randolph County rode the pitching of Way, Blake Marsh and Connor Adams to secure another shutout and clinch the series.
Blake Marsh supplied a three-run triple in the second inning after Post 45 scored twice in the first inning on Tanner Marsh’s run-scoring double and Way’s RBI single. Adam Cole and Tatum Marsh had two-out singles in the third to stretch the gap to 8-0. Carson Whitehead’s single drove in a fifth-inning run.
Next for Randolph County (24-8) is the best-of-5 series against Kannapolis, with Games 1 and 2 at home Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (8 p.m.)
Eastern Randolph had to wait a day to qualify for the next round after Wednesday night’s Game 2 was postponed because of weather. As it turned out, all three games were played at Craven Stadium in Ramseur because Stanly County’s field was deemed unplayable after Wednesday’s storms.
Post 81 needed to win twice Thursday, doing so by 13-3 and 13-4 scores. In Game 2, Luke Thomas struck out 10 in five innings. Samuel Asbill was the winning pitcher in Game 3.
Chance Terry, who drove in six runs, and Carson Rickman each had five hits in the two games combined. Thomas was 4-for-8 at the plate.
In Tuesday night’s Game 1, Post 81 rallied from a 6-0 deficit to tie the game only to fall 7-6 when visiting Stanly County scored a run in the top of the seventh. Parker Evans drove in two runs and Thomas notched two hits.
Post 81 (16-11) takes on Rowan County in the semifinal round, set to begin Saturday at Catawba College in Salisbury.
Coming in the next Randolph Record edition:
** Find out how Randolph County Post 45 turned around its season after a slow start.
** It has been a breakthrough season for Eastern Randolph Post 81.