Playing in its first N.C. Senior American Legion State Tournament since 2014, Wayne County faced off against Cherryville Post 100 in front of hundreds of baseball fans from across the state.
Before the game started, Wayne County participated in the opening ceremonies with seven other teams competing in the state tournament.
“That was really cool, and I was happy our kids got to experience that,” Wayne County Post 11 head coach Adam Pate said. “When you’re the primetime game of the day, there are more people there, and it’s just a big deal.
“One day, we’d love to have that many fans at legion games.”
Post 11 took an early 2-0 lead, but Cherryville used a fifth-inning rally to defeat Wayne County 8-2.
In the top of the second inning, Will Albert hit a single to get on base. Justin Holland then crushed an RBI triple that let Albert cross home plate, while a Cherryville throwing error enabled Holland to score Wayne County’s second run.
“That 2-0 lead happened because of two at-bats with Will Albert and Justin Holland back-to-back,” Pate said
Cherryville cut Wayne County’s lead down to 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, and in the bottom of the fifth, Cherryville scored seven runs to take an 8-2 lead.
“Their run was going to start at some point when they’re trying to make a comeback,” Pate said. “It’s definitely frustrating because you know your kids are out there playing hard and doing all they can, but some of it could’ve been prevented.”
Wayne County will look to bounce back against Port City Post 545 at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday.
“The one o’clock game tomorrow is going to be really hot, and we’re playing a good Port City team,” Pate said. “It’s a new day tomorrow, a new game, and turning the page is a big trait to have.
“At the same time, understanding that having some urgency about us that a must-win game is a must-win game.”