Alex Martinez of Randolph County Post 45 makes a catch in the outfield earlier this season against Chatham County. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
ASHEBORO – There have been some gaps in the schedule for Randolph County Post 45, but the American Legion baseball team might be back in a good groove.
Post 45 finished second in the Area 3 Northern Division by the time the regular season wrapped up last week.
The team won its final two regular-season games at home and then opened the Area 3 playoffs Sunday night by defeating visiting Davidson County.
That best-of-3 series was to continue this week. The Area 3 semifinals begin later this week in a best-of-5 format.
In the series opener, Randolph County’s 8-1 victory was boosted by two-run home runs from Braylen Hayes and Tanner Marsh. Hayes ended up with four runs batted in that helped support Robert Garner’s six innings of pitching before Marsh worked the seventh from the mound.
The goal for Post 45 is a state championship, but there are other benefits for extending the playoff run. The team is tournament host with an automatic bid for the Southeast Regional that’s scheduled for Aug. 2-6, so to avoid a huge break in the schedule it’s beneficial if Randolph County can keep going in the Area 3 playoffs.
Last week, Randolph County topped Foothills Post 123 by 7-3 and then defeated Chatham County Post 292 by 5-3.
Against Foothills, five pitchers went to the mound for Post 45. Carter Brown had two hits.
In the Chatham County game, Post 45 rallied from 3-0 hole as Hunter Atkins drove in two runs and Connor Adams scored two runs. Atkins and Marsh both had triples for Randolph County, while Austin Lemons was the winning pitcher with three innings of relief and Marsh recorded a save by logging a perfect seventh inning.
So that meant that Randolph County completed the regular season with a 19-3 record, including 6-2 in Area 3 divisional play. High Point-Thomasville Post 87 went 8-0 in the division to claim the top seed.
Davidson County was the third-place team in the Southern Division.
Rowan County Post 342 has already advanced to the Area 3 semifinals based on Foothills forfeiting the first-round series. It takes on the winner of the Randolph-County-Davidson County series.