Post 15 returns to state tournament

Published 1:30 pm Saturday, July 6, 2024

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The pendulum swung both ways for the Beaufort County Junior American Legion team Wednesday in steamy Ahoskie, but when the dust settled, Post 15 was headed back to the state tournament.

The local squad battled their way into the championship round against top-seeded Perquimans, needing a pair of victories to claim the Area 1 title and a higher seed for the state tournament in Goldsboro.
Post 15 erupted for 15 runs in the fourth inning to take the first game, 17-1, then lost the deciding game, 11-1, to settle for a runner-up spot. However, Perquimans declined their bid to the state tournament because of a lack of players, so Beaufort Co. still received one of four number one seeds. Bear Grass will advance as the second seed from Area 1.

“Baseball is a crazy game sometimes, especially when you are dealing with kids,” coach Bobby Boyd said. “It’s strange that we scored that many runs, then took a 30-minute break, and could only score one after that. However, a Beaufort County team has never made it to the state tournament two years in a row, so these guys have a lot to be proud of.”

Boyd said every batter reached base by hit, walk, getting hit or error during the 15-run inning, as Jackson Harding and Ashton Willard came up with baes-clearing hits to spark the surge.

“It was ugly on their end in the first game, and we didn’t field very well in the second,” Boyd said. “We gave them a ton of extra outs and didn’t get a key hit when we needed one. We’re looking forward to playing for a state title next week.”

Games start Tuesday morning in Goldsboro with eight teams from four areas across the state competing. Post 15 will play Matthews, the number two seed from Area 4 at 2 p.m. in the first round of the double elimination tournament. The winner advanced to play the winner of Wilmington-Wayne Co game, while the loser plays the loser of that game Wednesday. Other teams involved include South Caldwell, Bear Grass, Davidson Co. and Hope Mills. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, July 13th.

Nine local players got a taste of the event last year and Boyd thinks that will help this time around.
“Last year everybody was new to it and we went two and out,” Boyd said. “We have enough pitching to go as deep as we need to, and the older guys feel like there’s some unfinished business to take care of. We’ve played very well at times this summer and hopefully, we’ll make some noise.”