Post 43 prepares for first state tournament appearance in nearly a half-century

Post 43 prepares for first state tournament appearance in nearly a half-century

Kinston Post 43 will start state tournament play in Cherryville Friday, making it to this plateau for the first time in 49 years with hopes to reach Regionals. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News

Kinston Post 43 is maneuvering through territory uncharted in nearly a half-century.

On Friday, Kinston Post 43 will face host team Cherryville Post 100 in the American Legion state tournament, Kinston’s first appearance in 49 years. After a 14-2 regular-season campaign, Post 43 defeated Wilson Post 13 and Pitt County Post 39 in the playoffs to advance to this stage, starting with pool play.

After facing Cherryville Post 100 Friday at 7:30 p.m., Kinston Post 43 takes on Randolph County Post 45 at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and finishes pool play Sunday with Union County Post 535 at 2 p.m.

The state tournament consists of eight teams, divided into two divisions. The top two teams in each division advance to the single-elimination semifinal round Monday, followed by the championship game Tuesday. All games will be played at Buck Fraley Field in Cherryville.

Kinston Post 43 coach Ty Eason said this season has been a blessing.

“I can’t ask for more as a second-year head coach,” Eason said. “We’ve got a lot of talent in the area and they’ve been tremendous from the beginning. This also boosts the notoriety of our American Legion team and gives players in the future an opportunity to see what can be accomplished here.

“We’ve got a big opportunity to make a statement in the first game and look at winning at all costs. From there, we’ll make adjustments and while the teams here are strong, if we can go in with a positive mindset we can compete with anyone there.”

Terry Boyles has been a part of the American Legion for 45 years, including his 22nd with Kinston Post 43 as the athletic officer. Boyles, who also serves as the state committee chairman, said this is arguably the best team he’s seen from Kinston.

“This team is playing more together and the general attitude is the best I’ve seen from them,” Boyles said. “They’re having fun, yet they’re serious about the game and wanting to represent the community well. It’s a delight to watch them play and I commend Ty Eason for what he’s done, along with the rest of the coaching staff.

“Josh Harris and Colby McLawhorn as assistants have given their time with the players to make this happen.”

The Mid-Atlantic Regionals will take place in Asheboro starting Aug. 7 with the World Series in Shelby about a week later.

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