American Senior Legion Playoffs

Cary Senior Legion finishes second in conference

mblake@newsobserver.comJuly 6, 2013 

— Cary Senior American Legion coach Ron Powell, a winner of five Junior Legion state titles, was brought out of a quick retirement this summer.

Players who had played for him in Junior Legion wanted him to coach two more seasons with them in Senior Legion, and he agreed.

Their first regular season together on the Senior Legion level didn’t end the way either party had hoped.

Needing at least one win on Thursday in a doubleheader against Durham Post 7 to clinch the conference title, Cary Post 67 lost both games. The 8-5 and 7-5 wins gave Durham the conference title going into Sunday’s playoffs.

Durham will play a best-of-five series against Garner (which features players from Fuquay-Varina and Middle Creek high schools), and Cary will face Johnston County.

It also eliminated Raleigh Post 1 – which has players from Cary High – from playoff contention.

“We beat (Durham) 10-0 a month ago in an hour and 24 minutes. They got two hits and we beat them in every possible way you can beat a team. Then they come out here and beat us twice in two seven-inning games,” Powell said.

“We’re at the point now where we start our playoffs Sunday ... and if we play like we’ve played recently it’ll be a very short series and our season will be over.”

Tough transition

Cary Senior Legion (16-12, 8-4), which features players from Cary Academy, Athens Drive, Green Hope and Cardinal Gibbons, lost six of its past seven games to close out the regular season.

Injuries have moved around some players from their natural positions, which hasn’t helped the already-tough transition from Junior Legion to Senior Legion.

“There’s something about 18-year-old boys – they just don’t make the same commitment,” Powell said. “We have not had one single game this entire season (where) we’ve had all our players at the game. It’s disappointing. We had the talent.”

Powell said he takes the blame for some of the mental errors that have reared their head in the past few weeks – like getting doubled up on a fly ball with runners on second and third.

But there’s still something missing, he said, from the trademark of his always-tough Junior Legion teams.

“The thing that makes my team my team is we pitch well and we play good defense, and we’re not pitching well and we’re not playing good defense,” Powell said.

The winners of the Garner-Durham and Cary-Johnston County series will meet the following weekend. Johnston County’s home games are played at Smithfield-Selma High, while Cary has used Green Hope and Athens Drive.

Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps.

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