If there is one trait Shelby Post 82 baseball coach Mike Grayson looks for in his players, it’s commitment.
Grayson and his American Legion baseball team beat the Gaston Braves 10-6 and 7-2 in a doubleheader Tuesday, winning the N.C. American Legion championship and advancing to next week’s Southeastern regional tournament in Asheboro. Grayson said his team’s commitment to the game helped it succeed in the tournament’s early stages.
“There are 127 teams in the state of North Carolina,” Grayson said. “Everybody has the same goal – to win the state championship. This year we were lucky enough to grab it.”
Shelby (44-2) is in a unique situation. If it wins the regional tournament, the team will advance to the American Legion World Series, which happens to be in the team’s hometown. Grayson said playing in Shelby wouldn’t present additional pressure for his players.
“I don’t think that factors into it,” he said. “They know they have to take it one step at a time.”
Shelby will play in the regional tournament starting Aug. 7 and will compete against teams from South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Virginia and Kentucky. The tournament lasts four days, with the winner advancing to the World Series.
Grayson said he hopes Post 82 will make the state proud.
“I think we are going to have to play exactly like we have been playing,” he said. “If we do that we will be fine. We will try to represent North Carolina the way it should be represented.”
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