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The distressing word is that the Wilson team embarks upon the 2019 American Legion Area I East Division baseball playoffs with a roster of 10 players — one above the necessary number to complete the lineup.
The encouraging counterpoint is the fact the Post 13 team of head coach Noah Edens played its best baseball during the regular season with only 10 players available. From June 15 through June 22, Wilson notched five consecutive wins.
“It’s like that all the time,” Edens lamented of the numbers issue.
Seeded No. 5 among the seven East Division teams, Wilson opposes Farmville Post 151 in a best-of-three, opening-round series that begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Farmville Central High.
Game 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday in Fleming Stadium. If necessary, the third game will be contested at Farmville Central at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Post 13 finished 5-7 in the division and compiled a 7-8 overall record. After losing 11-0 at Pitt County Post 39 last Friday, Wilson ended the regular season with a 12-0 triumph in five innings at Ahoskie on Tuesday.
After a scoreless first inning against Ahoskie, Post 13 plated two runs in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth and five in the fifth.
Wilson collected just seven hits but benefited from seven walks and four hit batsmen.
Austin Slate batted 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles. Trey Dail finished 2 for 2. Ty Narron, Jamar Ellis and Tanner Sullivan managed a hit each. Narron scored three runs.
On the mound, Wilson right-hander Josh Fuller and left-hander Sullivan combined to blank Ahoskie on two hits. Fuller, who started and worked four innings, notched the win.
Sullivan was the losing pitcher against Pitt County.
Kinston Post 43 emerged the regular-season top finisher at 11-1, followed by Wayne County (10-2), Pitt County (8-4), Farmville (5-7), Wilson, Edenton (3-9) and Ahoskie (0-12), respectively.
Edenton has announced it will not participate in the playoffs. Thus, Ahoskie moves into the No. 6 spot and opposes Pitt County in the opening round. Kinston and Wayne County land byes.
The Wilson-Farmville winner faces Kinston in a best-of-five series in the division semifinals. Post 13 failed to defeat either Farmville or Kinston in the regular season. Kinston captured its first Area I East title since 1970 — the first year of the division.
“We played a lot of close games and were in a lot of games early,” Edens reviewed. “After four-five games, we sort of figured it out and started producing. We got to know each other better and came together as a team. Some good things started happening. We have seen a lot of good arms.”
In a best-of-3 series, Edens likes Post 13’s chances with a starting pitching rotation of right-hander Dom Gaetano, Fuller and Sullivan.
However, Sullivan, along with infielder-outfielder Mason Lee, will not be available for the Farmville series. Both are mainstays.
Tentative plans are to start Gaetano on Friday and Fuller on Saturday. Right-hander Slate tops the list of likely starters for Game 3.
“Our pitching looks good for a best-of-three series,” Edens noted. “But I understand, after that, we go straight into best-of-five the next round on Monday. The pitching we have falls off then.”
Completing the weekend roster will be Peyton Bass, Jackson Terry, Tyler Wells and Adam Pendergrass.
Edens emphasizes “throwing strikes” is the key to solving Farmville.
“We walked 23 in two games against them,” he revealed, “and, sure enough, there is going to come an inning when we need a big hit to bust things open.
“Our pitching, a few games, we didn’t get what we thought we would get but, defensively, we have been great.”