ASHEBORO — It’s a well-rested Randolph County Post 45 baseball team competing in this week’s American Legion postseason games at McCrary Park.
Perhaps experience is on Post 45’s side along with homefield advantage for the eight-team Mid-Atlantic Regional.
Randolph County begins its quest to make the national tournament by taking on Allentown, N.J., at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The five-day regional runs through Sunday. The winner advances to the American Legion World Series later this month in Shelby.
Also on the opening-day regional docket is Harrisburg (Pa.) Post 370 vs. Wilmington (Del.) Post 1; Ridge (Md.) Post 255 vs. Pottstown, Pa.; and Chesapeake (Va.) Post 280 vs. North Carolina champion Fuquay-Varina Post 116.
Post 45 holds a 15-6 record and it has been idle for a couple of weeks, but that time off should have the team rested and ready, head coach Ronnie Pugh said.
“Sometimes it helps you be healthy,” Pugh said, “but you don’t want to lose that last game.”
Post 45 won the Area 3 Northern Division regular-season title. The team lost in the Area 3 finals, so it sat out while other teams competed in the state tournament.
There also are slated to be four games Thursday, with three more Friday, two on Saturday and either one or two Sunday depending on how many are needed to determine the winner of the double-elimination regional.
The regional features six state champions, Pennsylvania’s runner-up and host Post 45. Pottstown won the Pennsylvania title and Harrisburg is in the regional field as the runner-up.
Post 45 won regional titles at its home facility in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The first of those two were Southeast Region championships and the 2019 version came in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
So the stage should be familiar for Post 45. That’s not the case for its first opponent.
Allentown won its first New Jersey state championship this summer. The team is composed of players from four high schools across Monmouth and Ocean counties.
The Southeast Regional will return to Asheboro for 2022 and 2023. Regionals have been held in Asheboro since 2013 (with the exception of the cancelled 2020 edition because of the pandemic).