Ready for regional: Post 15 amped to play Lyon County in opener

Photo by Ron Johnston Parkersburg Post 15’s Chase Swain (15) follows through on a swing during an American Legion baseball game against Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 earlier this summer at City Park.

PARKERSBURG — The eight-team field for the American Legion Southeast Regional Tournament is set and Parkersburg Post 15 is more than amped about playing the first game of the double-elimination event.

Post 15, which sports a 25-12 record for manager Mike Goodwin, will take on Lyon County Post 68 from Kentucky at 9:30 a.m. today inside McCrary Park in Asheboro, N.C. Fans wanting to follow the action can do so at www.sportstone.net.

Lyon County enters the fray with six straight wins and has a 19-9 record.

“I don’t have any good data,” admitted Goodwin as far as a scouting report goes on Post 68. “Honestly, I just know they have a kid that’s a really tall kid who throws really hard.

“I figure that’s who we are going to face. I saw him in the (hotel) lobby. That’s what we are thinking is going to happen.”

The state champion from Georgia was supposed to be in the field, but instead the state runner-up from South Carolina advanced.

“Their legion membership is down as far as baseball teams and stuff. They didn’t have enough teams to qualify,” said Goodwin, whose squad will be joined by Troy Post 70 (Ala.), Sumter Post 15 (S.C.), Tallahassee Post 13 (Fla.), Wilmington Post 10 (N.C.), Chapin/Newberry Post 193/24 (S.C.) and host Randolph Post 45 (N.C.).

When asked which hurler would toe the rubber for Post 15 this morning, Goodwin didn’t hesitate.

“I’m going to go with Chase Swain, who is 9-1,” said the skipper. “He’s been our ace this year and we are going to go after this thing like we are going to win it.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to see the kids smiling the way they are. It just reinforces how special this opportunity is. It’s a once in a lifetime type deal.”

Swain, who will play at Glenville State College and helped Ravenswood to consecutive Class A state tournament appearances, has thrown 58 2-3 innings this summer. Along with his 9-1 mound mark, he sports a 1.91 ERA and has 63 strikeouts.

“I’m really excited to pitch and they gave me the nod. It’s a great opportunity and just pitch my game,” said the ex-Red Devil, who was the Little Kanawha Conference’s Player of the Year.

“It was a good team week, really. We played good all week and it was really nice to get the ‘W’ (in the state tournament). I knew at the beginning of the year we had the team to do it. We just had to bond. We ended up doing that pretty well and we gelled pretty well as a team.”

W.Va. Wesleyan-bound shortstop Todd Burner, who is fourth on the team with a .361 batting average, agreed with Goodwin that “it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to come down here and play.

“We just got a lot better through the year. At the beginning of the year we struggled. This past weekend, we just hit the best we’ve hit the whole year as an entire team.”

Burner’s former teammate at Parkersburg South, Nathan Currey, had a two-out bases-loaded walk-off single to give Post 15 a 7-6 victory against South Charleston Post 94 in 11 innings last week.

“He just hit a routine ground ball and it hit that two by four (under the turf) and it bounced up and it was too late,” Burner noted of the crazy win. “If our pitchers throw strikes and we hit like we did last weekend I like our chances.”

Former Roane County standout catcher and current Glenville State College Pioneer Hunter Thompson leads Post 15 with a .393 average. He’s followed by Remy Boyce. The Ripley Viking is batting .387 and is followed by Parkersburg Big Red Jordan Batten, who is hitting at a .379 clip.

“It’s really special,” added Batten, who usually plays the hot corner, of making the regional. “We haven’t done it in what, 48 years (1970). It’s a very big deal for us. Not only us, but in Parkersburg and the Post (15).

“We’re going to go out and play like we did in the state tournament. Really, we just got to keep the same approach we had all year. Go have fun, play the game of baseball and enjoy it. We kept that going through the state tournament. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be really fun.”

Swain pretty much concurred with that, adding “we’re just going to go out and play our game. We don’t know anything about them and they don’t know anything about us.”

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