Kinston Post 43 season ends despite spirited effort against Pitt County Post 39
Kinston Post 43 gathers together for the final time this season, reciting 'The Lord's Prayer' after Wednesday's 12-9 loss to Pitt County Post 39 Wednesday at Pitt Community College. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News.
Kinston Post 43 certainly wasn't leaving without a fight.
Unfortunately, Pitt County Post 39 quelled a spirited comeback with a 12-9 victory in Game 3 of the American Legion Area 1 East playoffs Wednesday at Pitt Community College to sweep the series.
Despite falling in Games 1 and 2 by a combined score of 31-5 and falling behind big early, Kinston refused to make Game 3 an easy one, making a pair of runs before Pitt County could end the threat.
“There’s never a dull moment with this team,” Post 43 coach Ty Eason said. “I admire the heart of this team — they came here ready to play and put something on that field. (Pitt) is a hitting team and if their pitching holds up, they’ll have a successful run.”
Pitt County had its big inning in the second, starting with RBI singles from Easton Dally and Drew Nichols before three bases-loaded walks, one hit-by-pitch and a Robbie O'Neal sacrifice fly to go up 6-0.
This time Kinston fought back, clawing back in the top of the third. Garrett Tyndall had an RBI single for the first run and Christian Jones followed suit two batters later. After a double steal plated another, Tripp Creech's RBI single cut the deficit to 6-4.
Pitt County countered an inning later on a 2-run O'Neal home run. Kinston would get another Creech RBI single in the top of the fifth, but Post 39 got four in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by a two-run double from Ty'shawn Barrett and an RBI double by Robby Wacker, to go up 12-5.
Post 43 refused to wilt in the top of the sixth, with Tyndall getting his second RBI single of the contest before Creech unloaded on a pitch for a 3-run blast to get within 12-9. It would turn out to be the last hit of the game for Kinston as Pitt County retired the final four batters to seal it.
As Pitt County moves on to face the winner of Wilson Post 13 and Wayne County Post 11 series — Wilson has a 2-1 lead in the series — Pitt County Coach Ryan Meadows said the team certainly didn’t take Kinston for granted.
“Kinston has a good team and I love what Coach Eason has done with the program,” Meadows said. “You’re talking about the best of Lenoir County on that team with guys used to winning in high school and college. We knew they had talent and had a couple things gone differently, this series could’ve been a lot closer.”
Eason completed his first season as Kinston Post 43 manager after taking the reins from the late Ronnie Battle. He said he learned a lot from his predecessor and believes the team can have more success in the future.
“I learned to keep options open,” Eason said. “Everyone has potential somewhere — our arms were hurting, but you’ve got to deal with the cards you were dealt with. I will say there was a lot of (guys buying in) this season and we can follow that up into next year.”