Kinston Post 43 prepares for games Tuesday in baseball, softball
Kinston Post 43’s Jalin Connor hopes to contribute to the team’s offensive prowess in Game 1 of today’s Area 1 East Semifinals against Wilson Post 13. Kinston Post 43 scored 10 runs or more in 11 of its 16 regular-season games this season. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
American Legion athletics are back in full swing today in Kinston.
Kinston Post 43’s baseball and softball teams will host opponents, with the former kicking off the Area I East semifinals. After receiving a first-round bye, Kinston Post 43's baseball team will take on Wilson Post 13. Although Post 43 swept the two regular-season meetings — winning 10-2 on June 11 and 10-3 June 26 — Coach Ty Eason said the team won't take its opponent lightly.
“We have to come out with our best at playoff time,” Eason said. “If we can do that, hopefully we can see Pitt (County Post 39) or Wayne (County Post 11) in the finals.”
Kinston Post 43 finished the season on a five-game winning streak on the way to a 14-2 record. Despite not playing since July 1, Eason said the rest will be more beneficial.
“I think the little break has done us some good,” Eason said. “Some of the guys were a little burnt out playing so many games in a short amount of time, so this gives them the chance to relax, be teenage boys and focus on who we'll see.
“We may come out a little rusty, but we've done that earlier this season and turned it on, so hopefully we can keep it going.”
Game 1 is slated for today at the Ronnie Battle Baseball Complex at Kinston High School. Game 2 will be played Wednesday at Historic Fleming Stadium in Wilson and the locations will alternate until the series is over. Eason said the importance of Game 1 cannot be stated enough, not just to set the tone.
“I remember there was a situation when I played where we went up against Wilson in the playoffs,” Eason said. “We played Game 1, played half of the second game and then it rained for a solid week. We ended up having to go back to Game 1's result to stay on schedule, so in case a series is shortened it's important for us to put our best foot forward.”
In softball, Kinston Post 43 will look to continue its strong start after an eight-day layoff. After splitting a pair of games with Jacksonville Post 265 on July 1, the team hosts Wilmington Post 545 in a doubleheader at Barnet Park, continuing its regular season.
Kinston Post 43 coach Jody Turner said this upcoming week will be tough, but believes the team can continue its strong start.
“The main thing is easing back into the games,” Turner said. “There's no pressure — we'll approach it one at a time and let the chemistry rebuild itself. We'll be missing a few players because of other obligations and there will be an adjustment with different players in different positions. Still, we're going to play ball, have fun and hopefully do well.
“If we can do well in the first game, we should be able to keep it going in the second. We've got two more games (Thursday against Carteret Post 46 at home) so if we can finish at least .500 this week, I think we'll be in great shape.”
All games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.