HIGH POINT - A season-ending win?
Coy Barnett will take it.
Especially after a rocky start led to a historic campaign for the Wayne County Post 11 Junior Legion baseball team.
Cam Medlin tossed a complete game as Wayne County prevailed 3-2 over Hooks-Orr Matthews on day three of the NC American Junior Legion state tournament at Truist Field.
Post 11, Hooks-Orr Matthews and Davidson County each finished 1-2 in Stars Division pool play. Hooks-Orr Matthews advanced to the semifinals based on runs-allowed differential.
Connor Redford paced Wayne County with two hits against Matthews. Harrison Sutton and Trevor Warren provided one hit as Post 11 concluded its campaign with a 12-6 worksheet.
“We showed up motivated to win,” Barnett said. “[The] boys refused to give up and battled until the end.”
Wayne County opened the tournament with a 4-1 loss to Davidson County. Post 11 followed that up with an 11-4 loss to Carson, which fell to Cherryville in semifinal-round play Sunday afternoon.
Redford and Warren collected one hit and one walk apiece.
“Nothing could go right for us,” Barnett said. “We squared balls up right to someone and the other team sprayed the field [with 15 hits].”
Cherryville defeated Hooks-Orr Matthews, 10-4, in the championship game.
Wayne County’s advancement to the state level has set the bar for future junior teams after it toiled through a whirlwind season overlapped by high school baseball due to COVID-19.
Adam Pate, head coach for Post 11’s senior team, said the junior team’s success should help bridge the gap between the two programs. Younger players are gaining experience against higher-level competition, which should help bolster their high school careers.
“We had a blast coaching these guys … played a lot of good baseball,” Barnett said. “[The season] didn’t end the way we wanted, but it’s always good to win the last one.”