A versatile and experienced group of players that can bring many things to the table, fourth-year Wayne County Post 11 head baseball coach Adam Pate hopes to see his team enjoy a satisfying season of summer baseball.
Post 11 is hungry to get back on the baseball diamond because last summer’s legion season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It means a lot because we are looking forward to it. Our kids are looking forward to it, and people all over the state are looking forward to legion ball being back,” Pate said about this upcoming legion season. “I’m really happy for kids because they all got a high school season, and are back playing for Post 11 this summer.”
Pate has assembled an eager and determined squad that opens its season on the road in Lexington, SC against at Lexington Post 7 on June 12 at the Lexington Sports Complex.
“Our ultimate goal is to get to the state tournament,” Pate said.
Several players return off the 2019 team, while plenty of new faces will hope to lead Post 11 to an Area I East championship and an Area I championship.
Post 11 had a 23-9 record in 2019 and reached the semifinals of the Area I East Division playoffs, and Pate anticipates a competitive season that will be a good test for Post 11 this summer.
“Being able to win the big games at the right time is going to be the big hurdle that we have to jump over because the expectations are always to make it to the state tournament,” Pate said.
Back for another season are Wayne Country Day’s Rowan Watt and C.B. Aycock’s Clay Matthews. The duo is joined by fellow returnees Will Albert (Lenoir Community College), Sam Rice (Eastern Wayne), Braeden Collins (WCDS), Drew Spencer (WCDS), Will Harris (Rosewood), Logan Merritt (Rosewood), Tanner Capps (Louisburg), Matt Kornegay (UMO) and Tyler Thomson (Princeton).
It is a core group that Pate expects to show leadership on and off the field, and Pate undoubtedly relishes the talent level of this year’s squad.
“One thing that stands out is the experience on our team. That’s going to be the main thing,” Pate said. “Looking at it, we have 10-12 kids that were on the 2019 team, and that speaks volumes for leadership and experience we’re going to have.
“I’m really excited to see what we can do with all the experience on our team.”
The newcomers include Garrett Moffett (WCDS), Campbell Cunningham (Spring Creek), Daniel Weeks (Eastern Wayne), Austin Booth (C.B. Aycock), Will Pennington (Southern Wayne), Cohen Waddell (WCDS), Carter Gipson (C.B. Aycock), Carson Gipson (C.B. Aycock), Adam Brogden (Fayetteville Tech), Hunter Theriac (C.B. Aycock), Davis Albert (Rosewood), Anderson Clucas (Rosewood) and Benjamin Peacock (Rosewood), Justin Holland (Greenfield).
“As we get going, if you pitch well, then you’re going to have a chance to do well in Area I,” Pate said. “Our arms are definitely a bright spot. We’re plenty deep, and we have a lot of kids that will pitch but will have times as hitters as well. We have a lot of two-way players.
“This probably the most prepared team we’ve had in my time coaching Post 11, just mainly because of the experience.”
Wayne County will play a 28-game schedule this summer. Post 11 spent the past couple of seasons playing at Goldsboro High School but Post 11 will have a new home this season.
It will play most of its games at Rosewood High School. Post 11 will also play games at Charles B. Aycock High School and the University of Mount Olive.