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American Legion Baseball Shelby 11, Covington (Ga.) 1 (8)

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Shelby rolls in American Legion regional opener

By Megan Crotty
Asheboro Courier-Tribune

ASHEBORO After the controversy surrounding Shelby Post 82’s state title win last week, the team arrived in Asheboro for the Southeast Regional tournament with one goal in mind – make a statement.

That’s exactly what Post 82 did in its opening game Thursday afternoon, downing Georgia champs Covington Post 32, 11-1 in eight innings.

With the win, Shelby will play Florida champion Jacksonville Post 88 Friday afternoon at 4:30 while Covington drops to an elimination game with Tuscaloosa Post 34 at 9:30 a.m.

“Coming into this one, all the guys were talking about was ‘let’s go out and show everybody who we are,’ ” starting pitcher Ethan Carpenter said.

Carpenter, a Tusculum College sophomore, allowed one run on five hits in seven innings to collect the win. However, it wasn’t a vintage performance from the Post 82 ace, who admittedly didn’t have his best stuff.

“My arm felt good, but I just got behind too much,” Carpenter said. “At that point I just had to keep attacking and let my defense work behind me. They sure enough did.”

While Carpenter was having to work harder than normal on the mound, it all came easy for Post 82 at the plate, racking up 14 hits on the day en route to the win by 10-run-rule.

“It’s nice to start off that way. We came out relaxed and swung the bat really well,” assistant coach Chad Fowler said. “We know there’s a lot of baseball left but it’s always great when you can stay in the winner’s bracket.”

Covington took the lead in the top of the third when a Zachary Beggs single scored Ryan Sutton from second. Post 32 would threaten several more times, but came up empty as Shelby’s defense worked themselves out of jams to keep Covington off the board for the remainder of the day.

Post 82 claimed the lead for the first time in the bottom half of the third as Dustin Jones led off with a double and scored two batters later on a Jay Seagle double. Seagle then scored on a wild pitch after moving to third. The two runs would ultimately be all Shelby would need. But it wasn’t all they got.

A four-run fifth was highlighted by a two-run single from Cody Fitch and RBI hits by Nick Hastings and Chandler Young to push Shelby ahead, 6-1.

Reliever Jalen Byrd took over for Carpenter in the eighth and retired Covington in order before a five-run inning gave Post 82 the early win.

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