Junious Smith III: An open letter to Kinston Post 43
Dear Kinston Post 43:
This season, I tried to do something I’d been sporadic about for years — covering more American Legion baseball games. The talented players in Lenoir County and surrounding areas I’d see in the spring on different teams come together in the summer, yet I was out doing something else in previous seasons. As an inaugural softball team came into fruition, it strengthened the resolve to ensure you received deserved press for their exploits.
I’m writing this thanking both the baseball and softball teams for the historic seasons.
The talent here comes from 1A and 2A schools, yet defeated teams regularly with 3A and 4A stalwarts. In baseball, you showed out just about each game with a dynamic offense, scoring 10 runs or more in 11 contests during a 14-2 regular season. After winning series with Wilson Post 13 and Pitt County Post 39, the team made it to the state championship, something that hadn’t occurred since 1970 — back when the Beatles topped the charts.
Although you didn’t get out of round robin play, winning a game in the state tournament is a tremendous accomplishment, and the core is intact for another deep run next year.
Softball was just as memorable, especially knowing there were zero expectations. As you transitioned toward playing in this league, it was cool simply to see a new team, much less watching y’all go 10-2.
While the baseball team’s attack was more about scoring runs, defense and pitching ran the show in softball on the way to an Area 6 championship. Until the playoffs, no team scored more than six runs against Kinston Post 43 and the standard was set immediately.
If the baseball and softball seasons were rough, I’d still be around. For a sportswriter, the summer months are extremely tough and any bit of athletic activity is covered like a state title game.
Bud Hardy and I were instead treated to amazing contests as every player contributed and had at least one moment we could talk about. Bud and I conversed often about great feats on the baseball and softball diamonds, moments which won’t be forgotten any time soon.
My hope is to see American Legion continue its great pace in 2020 and beyond. The historic seasons can be duplicated, and we’re excited at Neuse News to see what the future has in store. Some players, I’ll be blessed to see throughout the school year. For others, I’ll be keeping tabs on what you’re doing in college.
Keep the flourish strong.
Junious Smith III