Kinston Post 43's season ends in state tournament
Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
CHERRYVILLE — One of the best season’s in Kinston Post 43’s history came to an end Sunday.
Union Post 535’s big second inning was too much to overcome in a 9-6 decision in the American Legion State Baseball Tournament. Cherryville Post 100 and Randolph County Post 45 advanced out of the Stars division and into the semifinals matches Monday.
Despite the loss, Kinston Post 43 coach Ty Eason said the season was amazing — the team reached the state finals for the first time since 1970 and coasted through the regular season with a 14-2 record before defeating Wilson Post 13 and Pitt County Post 39 to reach Cherryville.
“When you look at the outcome of this season, it was a whole lot better than it looked on paper,” Eason said. “This is a very young team and they can take this experience with expectations of coming back next year. The hospitality in Cherryville was special and as far as the experience, there’s a reason why these are the top eight teams in the state.”
Kinston Post 43 will lose five players next season due to age restrictions — Cameron Butler, Malik Dixon, Peyton Howard, Christian Jones and Camden Noble — but Eason said there’s plenty of talent to help the team get back to Cherryville.
“I can’t explain how thankful I am for these guys,” Eason said. “They really hustled for the team and I wish them the best in the future. I remember some of the older guys saying this — including Colby McLawhorn who was an assistant coach for me — ‘if I had the chance to do it all over again with my playing career, I’d play American Legion ball.’ It’s a part of being something bigger than themselves and we’ve worked on trying to revive that mindset of playing in the American Legion.
“When you started with a roster of 18 guys with the opportunity to return 12 or 13 — many of them still very young — we have the opportunity to turn playing here each year as a standard. We may not have been the best team on paper, but guys wanted it bad and fought for it. For anyone in the area with a future for baseball, American Legion is a premier spot to get a look and I want to put that out there as best as I can.”