By MIKE DUPREZ
Randolph County’s bid for the 2022 American Legion baseball state championship ended with a loss in the semifinals to Queen City.
But Post 45 will continue on as the host team in the Southeast Regional, which is being held at McCrary Park beginning on Wednesday. Post 45 won three straight Southeast Regionals from 2017-2019.
Post 45, after finishing first in its pool, fell 6-1 in the first set semifinal last Friday to first-year participant Queen City. The Charlotte team took an early lead and Post 45 later failed to score in a bases-loaded, no outs opportunity.
Randolph County scored its lone run when Braylen Hayes scored on a grounder by Trey Way in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Post 45 got off to a strong start in pool play on Tuesday, knocking off host team Fuquay-Varina 6-0 as Robert Garner hurled 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. Garner allowed four hits and struck out two with one walk.
Tanner Marsh finished up, striking out two, while also collecting a double and two RBIs. Adam Cole had two hits and Josh Meadows got a triple.
The game didn't start until 9:50 p.m., more than two hours late because the Rowan County-Pitt County game lasted 11 innings and had a long weather delay. Post 45’s game concluded right before midnight.
Randolph County came right back early the next afternoon and downed Hope Mills 6-1 to clinch a spot in Friday’s semifinals as Tyler Parks drove in three runs.
Parks and Cole each had two RBIs in Randolph County’s five-run second-inning. Tanner Marsh drove in the other run.
Blake Marsh allowed no hits in three innings but had to come out due to a leg cramp. Parks came on to pitch two innings of relief and earned the win.
Randolph County fell 7-3 to Cherryville in the final day of pool play. Alex Martinez had an RBI single and Way doubled in a run.
There was a three-way tie for first in pool play among Post 45, Fuquay-Varina and Cherryville. Post 45 won the tiebreaker based on fewest runs allowed to secure the top seed out of the Stars Division.