By MIKE DUPREZ
ASHEBORO – Randolph County’s bid to reach the American Legion World Series came to an end Saturday night.
Post 45 got off to a great start with a 5-0 lead, but Wilmington Post 10 roared back to win 15-5 in five innings in a Southeastern Regional tournament elimination game at McCrary Park.
Alex Martinez had a two-run single while Tyler Parks and Tanner Marsh had RBI singles as Post 45 scored all five of its runs in the top of the first inning. But that was all they would get as Post 10 reliever Norris Coleton pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Post 10 (25-11) scored three runs in the first, five in the second and three in the third to take control of the game.
Randolph County, which won three straight Southeast Regionals from 2017-19 at McCrary Park, ended the season with a 31-13 record.
Wilmington advanced to Sunday's championship round where both South Carolina teams, Camden and Rock Hill, awaited. All three teams had one loss.
Just as it had in the state tournament, Post 45 won its first two games of the tournament but wasn't able to continue the success.
Post 45 opened the regional by storming back from an early hole to beat Rock Hill, SC, 14-8.
It was a rough start for Randolph County as starting pitcher Robert Garner got cuffed for four runs in the first inning. Rock Hill led 5-0 after two innings and was still up 5-2 heading into the fifth inning.
But Post 45 erupted for seven runs in the fifth and flipped the game. Randolph County added four more runs in the sixth inning to win comfortably.
Josh Meadows led the way, going 2-for-5 with five RBIs as Post 45 collected 16 hits off four Rock Hill pitchers. Tanner Marsh was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, Cole was 2-for-2 with three runs and an RBI, Blake Marsh was 3-for-5 with an RBI, Parks was 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs, and Tatum Marsh was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Trey Way was 2-for-5 and Drew Harmon was 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Grant Little got the win with 3 2/3 innings of relief. Little allowed three hits, one earned run and struck out four. Tatum Marsh finished up with 2 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run and two hits.
Post 45’s regional tournament magic continued in the winner’s bracket as Braylen Hayes smacked a walkoff double in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 3-2 win over Evans, GA. Blake Marsh had reached on a one-single ahead of Hayes’ game-winning hit. Evans had rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
Blake Marsh started on the mound and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out five. Parks pitched the fifth inning, giving up a run. Tanner Marsh went the final three innings, allowing one run with five strikeouts, to pick up the win. He also had a hit and drove in the other two runs. Tatum Marsh had two hits for Post 45.
In the next winner’s bracket game, Post 45 fell behind by a large margin early and lost 12-7 to South Carolina champion Camden, which emerged as the tournament’s only unbeaten team at that point.
Randolph County made a comeback bid after trailing 10-3 in the fifth. Parks had a two-run single and Martinez scored on a wild pitch as Post 45 cut the lead to 10-6. Tanner Marsh’s sacrifice fly in the sixth made it 10-7. But that was as close as they could get.
Cole, Meadows, Blake Marsh and Tatum Marsh all had two hits for Post 45. Parks had two RBIs.