What a year for Post 15

It’s been nearly five decades since the Parkersburg Post 15 American Legion baseball team won the West Virginia state tournament.

Now, second-year manager Mike Goodwin’s gang is heading to North Carolina for this week’s double-elimination Southeast Regional Tournament.

“I talked with (former Post 15 Legion Commander) Bob Cunningham and he said it was 1970,” Goodwin noted of the last state title for the local program. “We knocked off the three-time defending champ Wheeling (Post 1) and then turned around and beat powerhouse South Charleston.

“I can’t say enough about how much we just turned it on. It’s just like the kids would not quit. They never panicked, even when South Charleston got the lead (Saturday). They are up 1-0 and it’s like who cares. Let’s put up four runs.”

Following a walk-off single by Parkersburg South’s Nathan Currey on Friday night to hand SC Post 94 its first loss of the tournament — a 7-6 win in 11 innings — Post 15 found itself trailing 1-0 after two innings on Saturday afternoon, but scored four times in the top of the third, twice in the fourth and then tacked on four more in the fifth en route to the 10-2 title-clinching triumph.

Post 15 will play in the first game of the tournament at 9 a.m. Wednesday against the Kentucky state champion at McCrary Park in Asheboro, N.C. Along with the host program — Dixon Post 45 — the eight-team field also will include the state champs from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“The benefits of winning the state tournament are that the national American Legion pays for our transportation, our lodging and our meal money when we are down there,” said Goodwin, who noted they have a banquet to attend on Tuesday evening.

“Thank goodness I don’t have to come up with 10 grand or whatever to take care of everybody because I don’t have it.”

One thing Goodwin does have though is a group of baseball players who love the game.

It also doesn’t hurt they have a little bit of talent as well.

“I told them at the beginning of the week to act like they’ve been there,” Goodwin added. “It helps to have some older kids like we have and the Ravenswood kids who had been at the state tournament were beneficial too.

“The Ravenswood kids, for sure, wanted to make a statement even though they got beat in the first game (of the Class A state semifinals). This was important to them to show the baseball world they can play some ball and they did.”

Another thing which never hurts is having a little help from above.

“I believe in fate and I truly believe my dad (Jim, former longtime Post 15 manager) was helping us in this tournament,” Goodwin admitted. “Just the breaks that we got and the opportunities our kids took advantage of.

“I’m certain my dad was helping our team today (Saturday) and we won it for him.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com