Kinston Post 43 continues to roll in baseball, softball
Kinston Post 43’s Brendon Grant tips his cap after hitting a 3-run homer in Game 1 of the Area 1 East semifinals Tuesday. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
Tuesday was a good night for Kinston Post 43.
In baseball, Kinston Post 43 dominated in Game 1 of the Area 1 East semifinals, defeating Wilson Post 13 13-3 at the Ronnie Battle Baseball Complex at Kinston High School. Brendon Grant hit a 3-run blast in the bottom of the first and the team rolled from there, ending the game in five innings under the 10-run mercy rule.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is set for Wednesday in Wilson at Historic Fleming Stadium, with the first pitch to be thrown at 7 p.m.
“After so many days off, you expect a little rust,” Kinston Post 43 coach Ty Eason said. “We had a couple of lulls, but we hit the ball well. We were a little overaggressive at the plate at times, but in some cases it did work in our favor.”
Wilson Post 13 scored a run in the top of the fourth, but in the bottom of the frame Kinston Post 43 scored four, highlighted by an RBI double from Cameron Butler and a 2-run double by Malik Dixon. Post 13 tried to close the gap in the top of the fifth with two runs, but Post 43 exploded from there.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jamir Jones-Gatling drew a bases-loaded walk, followed by a 2-run single from Jalin Connor. Two Kinston Post 43 runners would score on a passed ball and three batters later, Ethan May hit a two-out walkoff single.
Eason said the team’s strong play was great and hopes in continues on the road.
“We have to keep the pedal to the medal,” Eason said. “It was important to win Game 1 in case of a shortened series due to rain, and if we can keep the momentum, we’ll be just fine.”
In softball, Kinston Post 43 improved to 7-1 on the season after defeated Wilmington Post 545 3-1 and 8-6 in a doubleheader at Barnet Park. Post 43 coach Jody Turner said the team pulled some reserves — East Duplin’s Makayla Kopanski, North Lenoir’s Michaela Williams and Jones Senior’s Karly Wynne — , but they made a fluent transition.
“The stepped in (during the first game) and we didn’t miss a beat,” Turner said. “It was a pitcher’s duel, but we manufactured three runs with timely bunts and crucial hits with runners in scoring position.”
In the second game, Wilmington Post 545 did score four runs in the second inning, but Kinston Post 43 recovered and took a 6-5 advantage in the bottom of the third. Post 545 tied it in the fourth, but Post 43 picked up two more runs in the bottom of the frame and eventually picked up the win.
“Defense and pitching again shined for us tonight,” Turner said. “(Offensively) we were able to make (Wilmington) throw a lot of pitches and the entire lineup battled in every at-bat. They were disciplined in and out of the zone tonight.”
Kinston Post 43 hosts Carteret Post 46 Thursday at 7 p.m.