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A Wilson Post 13 American Legion baseball team that underachieved during the regular season awaits a second chance or new season in the form of the Area I East Division playoffs that begin Monday with four of the division’s seven teams participating.
In attempting to bounce back from a dismal final week of the regular season, Post 13, the No. 4 seed, is matched against regular-season top finisher Wayne County Post 11 in a best-of-5 series.
Monday’s first game is set for the Goldsboro High diamond. Game 2 shifts to Fleming Stadium on Tuesday with Game 3 back at Goldsboro High on Wednesday.
If Game 4 is needed next Thursday, Wilson will have to find a site with Fleming Stadium not available. A fifth game would be played next Friday at Goldsboro High.
Post 13 notched a 6-7 overall record and finished 5-7 in the division. Wilson split with every division opponent — except for losing twice to Wayne County.
“We were capable of winning more games,” Edens admitted. “The last week got us. That turned the whole season into a subpar season.”
In the final week, Wilson split a pair of games with Kinston and lost to succession to Farmville, Ahoskie and Wayne County.
Kinston enters as the No. 3 seed and opposes No. 2 Pitt County. Ahoskie, Farmville and Edenton opted not to participate in the playoffs. Thus, the division postseason begins with the semifinal round.
“I don’t like the fact the other teams opted out,” Edens expressed. “Before next week, we could have played a couple of (first-round) games and maybe got into a groove. We were down and needed a little break, but a nine-day layoff is not good for anyone.”
Edens, however, was encouraged that, in the final regular-season game against Wayne County, his Post 13 squad demonstrated spark and determination. He’s hopeful the approach continues into the postseason.
“We’re capable,” Edens declared. “If the right folks show up, we can make it interesting.”
However, Wilson’s head coach speaks of much respect for top-seeded Wayne County.
“They’re a good baseball team,” Edens remarked. “They hit the ball. They’re fast -- they run the bases pretty well. Their pitching is pretty good. They all mix their pitches pretty well and don’t walk a lot of people.
“They’re just solid. You can tell they want to be there; they enjoy what they’re doing.”
Although wary of the unexpected, Edens expects Post 13 to field a squad of 15-16 players, which equates to a full pitching staff.
Josh Fuller, a right-hander from Hunt High, is the probable Game 1 starting pitcher for Post 13. Jaelynn Melton, a right-hander from Fike High, will get the Game 2 nod. From then on, Post 13 coaches will look to Tyler Wells, Parker Garris, Alston Pittman and others.
Catcher Tyler Sherrod, outfielder Cedric Kirby and first baseman Jackson Terry lead the offense.
Edens noted Wilson played sloppy baseball in both contests against Wayne County.
The team practiced for the only time since the conclusion of the regular season on Thursday.
“We’re the underdog,” Edens challenged. “I’m sure they feel like they can beat us three more times.”
Post 13’s head coach doesn’t deny he’s curious to see who shows for the playoffs and how the available players respond.
“I surely hope we are ready to come out and play,” Edens continued. “Any time you go out there, you want to compete at the highest level.”