07/25/13 — Wilmington Post 10 returns to defend state title

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Wilmington Post 10 returns to defend state title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 25, 2013 1:47 PM


WILSON -- The defending state champion returns.

Three teams make their first-ever appearance.

The remaining four teams have been there, done that.

In all, a total of eight squads comprise the field for the 2013 North Carolina Senior American Legion state baseball tournament, which gets underway Friday morning at historic Fleming Stadium.

"I have never been to a state tournament, but from what I've seen and what I've heard and some people that I have talked to, there are some really good teams in this tournament," Wilson Post 13 head coach Rusty Dail said. "They didn't get here for nothing."

Area IV champ Shelby Post 82 and Area III runner-up Kernersville Post 36 open play at 9:30 a.m. Kernersville won it all in 2010, while Shelby seeks its first state crown since 2001.

Area III champion Randolph County Post 45, which has yet to drop a postseason game, meets Area IV runner-up Lincoln County -- a first-time participant in the 14-year history of the tournament. First pitch is 12:30 p.m.

Regardless of the outcome, Randolph County's season will continue since it is playing host to the Southeast Regional next week.

The second half of the first-day session kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with Area I champion Garner Post 232 squaring off against another newcomer -- Area II runner-up Jacksonville. Garner has won two state titles, but had to vacate its 2004 championship due to an ineligible player.

Wilson Post 13, the tournament host and automatic qualifier, faces reigning state champion Wilmington Post 10 in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. Wilmington (25-1 overall) has the best record among the eight participating teams and will attempt to set a new record for most state titles. Post 10 shares the mark of nine with Gastonia Post 23.

Wilmington has appeared in 16 state finals overall before Legion officials adopted the double-elimination tournament format in 2000.

"As far as our team goes, we're excited to be in it and looking forward to it," Dail said. "I told them there is no pressure on us, to just go out there and play and see what happens."

Post 13 becomes just the fourth Area I East team to advance to the state tournament since 2000. Wayne County Post 11 has made six trips. Pitt County Post 39 has four appearances, while Rocky Mount Post 58 has two.

The tournament continues through Tuesday with the winner advancing to the Southeast Regional, scheduled for Aug. 8-12 at McCrary Park in Asheboro. The survivor advances to the World Series, which is hosted by Shelby.