Two returning teams will be in the field Thursday when the annual American Legion World Series begins play in Shelby.
North Carolina’s Randolph Post 45, from the Asheboro area, and Midland (Mich.) Post 165 will be among the eight teams competing for the national title, in a tournament that has its roots in the pre-Depression era.
Randolph and Midland will meet in an opening-round game.
Defending champion Henderson (Nev.) Post 40 did not qualify this year.
The opening event is Wednesday in downtown Shelby, starting at 5:15 p.m. with a meet-and-greet featuring the eight teams. That will be followed by a cornhole tournament, and live music is planned, featuring Summer Brooke and the Mountain Faith Band at 5:30 p.m. and Parmalee at 8 p.m.
All games are at Keeter Stadium, adjacent to Shelby High School. All games from Saturday through next Tuesday’s title contest will be televised live by ESPNU.
The World Series teams qualified by winning regional championships last weekend. They are: Randolph Post 45, Southeast champion; Midland (Mich.) Post 165, Great Lakes; Dubuque County (Iowa), Central Plains; Gonzales (La.) Post 81, Mid-South; Wilmington (Del) Post 1, Mid-Atlantic; Las Vegas Post 40, Western; Meridian (Idaho) Post 113, Northwest; and Braintree (Mass.) Post 86, New England.
Thursday: Wilmington (Dela.) vs. Dubuque County (Iowa), 10 a.m.; Gonzales (La.) vs. Braintree (Mass.), 1 p.m.; Randolph County vs. Midland (Mich.), 4 p.m.; Meridian (Idaho) vs. Las Vegas, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Wilmington vs. Gonzales, 4 p.m.; Dubuque County vs. Braintree, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Midland vs. Las Vegas, 1 p.m.; Meridian vs. Randolph County, 4 p.m.; Gonzales vs. Dubuque County, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: Braintree vs. Wilmington, 1 p.m.; Midland vs. Meridian, 4 p.m.; Randolph County vs. Las Vegas, 7:30 p.m.
Monday: Semifinals, 4 and 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Finals, 7 p.m.