City News

Baseball team looks to make some history

Starting this week, Charlotte Post 262's American Legion baseball team will start a journey that no Charlotte team has successfully completed in decades.

Can Post 262, which consists of players from Country Day, East Mecklenburg, Myers Park and Providence Day, win an American Legion state championship? Post 262 coach Greg Clewis has major doubts not just for this season, but for all seasons.

When the playoffs start this week, with the pairing still undecided as of late last week, the usual suspects of Caldwell and Cherryville will serve as favorites for the Area IV championship.

The two have combined to win nine of the last 11 Area IV titles. Their nearly annual success, Clewis says, comes from those areas' use of a school plan that designates which players can play on which American Legion teams. Cherryville High won a state championship this year and South Caldwell High won a state title in 2007.

Charlotte uses a zone plan, which covers much of central Charlotte northeast to Cabarrus County – not typically a hotbed for baseball. Players from traditional powers such as South Mecklenburg, Providence and North Mecklenburg usually fall in the Pineville or Huntersville American Legion lines.

According to records, a Charlotte team hasn't won an Area IV title since 1983 and a state title since the 1960s.

Clewis and his players also point to the passion dedicated to American Legion baseball in the smaller towns like Cherryville.

“They're very serious about their baseball,” said James Cerbie, a Providence Day graduate. “It's like you see in movies. As you get to the town, you actually see signs like ‘Store closed – game tonight.'”

For Charlotte players, many of whom won't play past high school, the intense environment at away games only adds to the thrill.

“The whole town is at those games,” said Hamlin Wade, a Myers Park graduate. “It gives you a chance to feel like you're playing at a higher level.”

If Post 262 can make a run, the team is peaking at the right time. The team has won six of its last seven games to up its record to 9-9 as of Thursday after a rough start to the season.

With players ranging in age from 14 to 19, sometimes it takes time for a team to gel, Clewis said. For the younger players, a potential return trip to an intense away field for a playoff game could prove easier after already experiencing it once this season. For the guys heading to college, it's one last shot at glory.

“For me,” Wade said, “it's the closest I'll have to a ‘true baseball experience.'”

Starting this week, Charlotte Post 262's American Legion baseball team will start a journey that no Charlotte team has successfully completed in decades.

Can Post 262, which consists of players from Country Day, East Mecklenburg, Myers Park and Providence Day, win an American Legion state championship? Post 262 coach Greg Clewis has major doubts not just for this season, but for all seasons.

When the playoffs start this week, with the pairing still undecided as of late last week, the usual suspects of Caldwell and Cherryville will serve as favorites for the Area IV championship.

The two have combined to win nine of the last 11 Area IV titles. Their nearly annual success, Clewis says, comes from those areas' use of a school plan that designates which players can play on which American Legion teams. Cherryville High won a state championship this year and South Caldwell High won a state title in 2007.

Charlotte uses a zone plan, which covers much of central Charlotte northeast to Cabarrus County – not typically a hotbed for baseball. Players from traditional powers such as South Mecklenburg, Providence and North Mecklenburg usually fall in the Pineville or Huntersville American Legion lines.

According to records, a Charlotte team hasn't won an Area IV title since 1983 and a state title since the 1960s.

Clewis and his players also point to the passion dedicated to American Legion baseball in the smaller towns like Cherryville.

“They're very serious about their baseball,” said James Cerbie, a Providence Day graduate. “It's like you see in movies. As you get to the town, you actually see signs like ‘Store closed – game tonight.'”

For Charlotte players, many of whom won't play past high school, the intense environment at away games only adds to the thrill.

“The whole town is at those games,” said Hamlin Wade, a Myers Park graduate. “It gives you a chance to feel like you're playing at a higher level.”

If Post 262 can make a run, the team is peaking at the right time. The team has won six of its last seven games to up its record to 9-9 as of Thursday after a rough start to the season.

With players ranging in age from 14 to 19, sometimes it takes time for a team to gel, Clewis said. For the younger players, a potential return trip to an intense away field for a playoff game could prove easier after already experiencing it once this season. For the guys heading to college, it's one last shot at glory.

“For me,” Wade said, “it's the closest I'll have to a ‘true baseball experience.'”

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