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Post 8 wins second straight district title

The South Boston American Legion Post 8 Junior Legion baseball team has won its second straight District 9 regular-season championship.

But, in an unusual twist, Post 8, which secured a berth in the Legion state tournament by winning the title, will not play in this weekend’s District 9 tournament, nor will it compete in the state tournament.

Post 8 would have hosted at least one game of the district tournament, which was scheduled to begin today.

“We have elected to not participate in post-season play,” Post 8 Manager Jody Nelson said Wednesday.

“Due to prior commitments of some of our players, we felt it would be in everyone’s best interest to not participate in the postseason and pursue the state championship.”

Post 8 scored a 12-2 road win over Rocky Mount Post 6 on Monday in a game that was stopped after five innings under a slaughter rule.

On Tuesday, Post 8 was slated to play a doubleheader against Madison Heights Post 274 in what appeared to be games that would decide the division championship. However, the doubleheader was canceled.

Nelson explained that Madison Heights had four losses entering the scheduled doubleheader and had elected to not participate in the district tournament. As a result, the games were not played, and Post 8, with a 6-3 slate in division play, won its division.

“It feels great to win the championship,” Nelson remarked.

“We went into the season with winning the championship as one of our goals. We did a great job battling all year. Our young players really stepped up. We had some really good games and some of the guys really developed their skills.”

Nelson said he is grateful for the opportunity to coach the team and work with the players. The Post 8 manager also said he appreciates the support he and the team have received this season.

“I thank all of the members of South Boston American Legion Post 8 for their support and for making this program possible,” Nelson said.

“We had good fan turnouts at our home games. There were more people there than just the parents, grandparents and other relatives of the players. We had good support from the community at the games.

“I appreciate the help and support of the parents and Post 8 members that volunteered to help,” Nelson continued, “and we appreciate the support of Halifax County High School in allowing us to play our games at the high school field.”

Post 8’s last outing of the season was a good one.

Pitcher Ryan Powell had a solid outing on the mound, fanning eight of the 21 batters he faced in the game and allowing three hits and three hits.

Will Harris led Post 8 on offense with his 4-4 effort at the plate that included a triple and an RBI. Tristan Howerton had two hits and two RBIs and Jacob McKinney had two hits and three RBIs.

Andrew Abbott, Kelonte Gutrich, Kashawn Hilliard, Powell and Jake Hughes had a hit each.

Post 8 jumped on top in the top of the first inning with a run-scoring hit from McKinney with two out. Rocky Mount tied the game with a run in the bottom of the inning and took a 2-1 lead in the second inning.

However, Post 8 rallied for three runs in the third inning to regain the lead at 4-2 with the help of run-scoring hits from McKinney and Gutrich, added a run in the fourth inning on an RBI-single from Howerton to go up 5-2, and put the game out of reach with seven runs in the top of the fifth inning.