Randolph County Post 45 coaches Ryan Hill, left, Ronnie Pugh and Andrew Conner will need a plan to win three more games in the Southeast Regional. (File photo)
Randolph County needs turnaround to extend season
ASHEBORO — It didn’t start well for Randolph County Post 45. Then it got worse Friday night.
Yet if there’s a good omen for the host team in Southeast Regional for American Legion baseball, things are bound to get better this weekend.
Or else the season will come to a disheartening conclusion.
“It’s an eye-opener,” Post 45 catcher Alex Martinez said after the 12-7 loss to Camden (S.C.) Post 17 at McCrary Park. “We have to come play and play harder. Need a lot more energy.”
The eight-team field in the double-elimination tournament has been cut in half, with only Camden with an unblemished mark.
Post 45 (31-12) meets North Carolina state champion Wilmington Post 10 in Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. elimination game. Camden, which is guaranteed of advancing to Sunday, takes on South Carolina state champion Rock Hill Post 34 in Saturday night’s nightcap.
Randolph County pitchers gave up 15 hits and five walks and were dinged by the team’s three fielding errors.
“A couple errors lead to more errors,” Martinez said. “Things started to fall apart. Not a lot of energy going on.”
The miscues extended to offense. Three Randolph County innings ended with base-running blunders.
“I don’t think I want to really replay that one,” Post 45 manager Ronnie Pugh said of the game. “When we’re on, we’re good. But we were sure bad (in this game).”
Camden scored two unearned first-inning runs. By the time Post 17 put on a third-inning hitting clinic to score five runs, it was 8-1.
“I felt they swung the bats really well and they were hitting it,” starting pitcher Tatum Marsh said. “We’ll learn from it.”
Trey Way, Connor Adams, Drew Harmon and Braylen Hayes were also used on the mound, with only Adams, who worked one inning, going unscored upon.
Yet Post 45 racked up 11 hits, with Tatum Marsh, Blake Marsh, Adam Cole and Josh Meadows all recording two.
Randolph County got on the board on Tatum Marsh’s two-out single in the second. Cole stroked an RBI double in the third.
Post 45 closed within 10-5 on Tyler Parks’ two-out, two-run single in the fifth. A wild pitch resulted in another run.
Adams worked into and out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth without yielding a run.
In the bottom of the inning, Tanner Marsh’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded made it 10-7, but that’s all Post 45 got when Cole lined out to right end to end the threat.
Randolph County and Wilmington didn’t meet in last week’s state tournament.
Rock Hill, S.C. 7, Belleview, Fla. 3 (Belleview eliminated)
Wilmington 18, Evans, Ga. 0 (Evans eliminated)
Camden, S.C. 12, Randolph County 7