Randolph County Post 45 drops American Legion WS opener

The state team couldn't build on a strong start in losing 8-2 to Midland, Mich. in a pool play game at Shelby's Keeter Stadium

Randolph County Post 45 pitcher Bryce Marsh delivers to the plate in Thursday's American Legion World Series game in Shelby (Lucas Carter/The American Legion)

  Randolph County Post 45 got off to a strong start, but wasn’t able to finish Thursday in an 8-2 loss to Midland, Mich. Post 165 in its American Legion World Series opener at Keeter Stadium in Shelby.

  Coach Ronnie Pugh’s team scored single runs in the third and fourth innings to take an early lead in the matchup of the only two teams returning from last year’s national championship tournament for players 19-under.

  But after breezing through the first three innings and getting the first two outs in the fourth, Post 45 starter Bryce Marsh suddenly lost his control. After an error extended the inning, Marsh walked a batter and hit two more — including one with the bases loaded — as Michigan rallied to tie the score.

  Randolph County tried to regain the momentum in the top of the fifth when Tristan Marsh doubled and Dawson Painter walked with one out, but the threat ended without any runs scoring. Michigan then scored twice in the bottom of the inning to take the lead, before breaking the game open with four more runs in the sixth.

  Post 45 got its runs on a two-out double off the left field wall by Painter in the third on a ball that missed being a three-run homer by less than a foot, and on a double by Spencer Lanier an inning later.

  Despite the loss, Randolph County is still in contention for a spot in the semifinals. Its next pool play game on Saturday when it takes on Meridian, Idaho Post 113, which lost 10-0 to Las Vegas, Nevada Post 40 in Thursday’s late game.