The Post 42 senior legion team rallied to reach the District F championship game Monday night in Salem before falling to Rocky Mount Post 6 to put an end to the season.
But it’s not the end of the season for Post 42, with the junior legion team set to begin their District F tournament Wednesday night at Kawanis Field in Salem.
Post 42 enters the tournament as the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 Roanoke Post 3 Cutters.
“It doesn’t matter about what you’ve done in the regular season,” said Post 42 Head Coach Sam Suite said. “Everybody is 0-0 is what we keep saying.”
Three of the players for Martinsville — Drew Fisher, Elliott Underwood and Colton Stegall — all played for the senior legion squad throughout the season and in the tournament. Suite said that experience is very valuable as the junior team gets ready for their own tournament.
“That’s going to be really big for us... They’ve already seen what the tournament is all about,” Suite said. “They kind of got a feel for that atmosphere of we’ve got to fight.”
Martinsville has only played the Cutters one time this summer, an 18-7 loss, but one bad inning was all the difference in the contest. Suite said that he and the coaching staff has been preaching all season long that records and previous meetings mean nothing, especially at this time of the season.
“That’s been really a big thing I’ve been teaching these kids this summer,” he said. “Getting the kids to understand that when it’s tournament time it’s 0-0. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done.”
With it being summer baseball, the number of players that showed up to each game changed by the day. Whether it was vacation, illness or any other reason, it was rare that everybody on the roster showed up to games, but that has allowed Suite to gain confidence in every one of his players.
Suite recalled the June 17 game at Halifax County, where he had 17 players and wanted to make sure every one of them got to play after the long trip.
“We went up with our starting lineup and I said we’re going to switch it up,” he said. “They kept making plays... That gave me a lot of confidence in those guys.”
So now that the tournament is set to begin, and the team could be set to play a lot of baseball in a short period of time, having lineup flexibility can be a major strength for Post 42.
“They’ve all produced,” Suite said.
It is a double elimination tournament, so a win would move Post 42 on in the winner’s bracket to play Thursday night at 7 p.m. against the winner of No. 2 Roanoke Post 3 Heat and No. 7 Big Island Post 217 at the site of the higher seed. A loss would send Martinsville into the loser’s bracket, where they’d have to win six games in four days to win the district tournament. The two teams that reach the finals will each advance to the state tournament next week in Stafford County.
“I want to see the kids go out there and see that Post 42 means something to them. Show me that you get to represent your area, so let’s go out there and leave it all out on the field,” Suite said. “Regardless of who we’re playing, I want them to compete and leave it all out there.”
Patrick County Post 105 to open tournament in play-in game
In the program’s return to junior legion baseball, Patrick County Post 105 will open the District F tournament as the No. 8 seed, and will face top-seeded Lynchburg Post 16 at 7 p.m. at Heritage High School after Rocky Mount Post 6 withdrew and forfeited the play-in game.
"I just want to make sure that when we leave there that we didn't leave anything in Patrick County," said Patrick County Head Coach Tal Swails. "The most important thing that I want to get out of this thing is to compete tomorrow and see what happens the next day."
The Patrick County record finished at 6-10 on the summer, but Swails feels that the record hasn't shown the progress the team has made this summer.
"We're playing some pretty good baseball," he said. "Instead of being 6-10, we very easily could've been 9-7, and at 9-7 we're in third or fourth place."
At the beginning of the summer, Swails said that just getting on the field and competing each time out was the biggest thing for program. As the season is winding down and the postseason is set to begin, Patrick County wants to end on a high note.
"I just want to make sure we compete because that's the most important thing that I've been trying to get out this summer and we have made major strides in doing that," Swails said.
Chris Doherty is a Sports Reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him 276-638-8801 ext. 215. Follow on Twitter @BulletinSport