2021 N.C. American Legion baseball pairings announced; Tourney starts on Wednesday

By Richard Walker

Cherryville’s 2021 American Legion baseball team won its 19th N.C. Area IV title last week.

Four former state champions and seven with state tournament experience are in the field for this week’s N.C. American Legion baseball state tournament that will be held at Cherryville’s Fraley Field.

Wilmington (12-0), with a record 12 state titles, is one of two unbeaten teams in the field in a year that featured abbreviated schedules in each of the four areas in the state.

Area I’s Fuquay-Varina (17-0) is the other unbeaten team.

Wilmington won its 12th state title two years ago in the last N.C. tournament by defeating Fuquay-Varina in Cherryville.

Other tournament participants are host Cherryville (19-5) and Rutherford County (16-9) from Area IV, Rowan County (13-4) and Kannapolis (11-5) from Area III, Port City (10-3) from Area II and Wayne County (22-5) from Area I.

The tournament will use a pool play format for three days starting Wednesday at 10 a.m., with Cherryville, Port City, Rowan County and Wayne County in the Stars Division and Fuquay-Varina, Kannapolis, Rutherford County and Wilmington in the Stripes Division.

The top two teams in each pool will meet Saturday in the semifinals with those winners playing on Sunday in the title game.

Sunday’s winner advances to the Aug. 4-8 Mid-Atlantic Regionals at Asheboro. And that regional champion will join seven other regional winners from across the country to play in the Aug. 12-17 American Legion World Series at Shelby’s Keeter Stadium at Veterans Field.

Rowan County (9), Cherryville (7) and Kannapolis (4) also have previously won state titles.

And Wilmington (13 appearances), Cherryville (11), Rowan County (11) and Wayne County (7) are among the most regular state tournament teams since N.C. began holding the event in 2000. Kannapolis (4), Rutherford County (2) and Fuquay-Varina (1) also have been to the state tournament.

It makes Port City the only first-time state tourney participant.

The full tournament schedule:

Wednesday, July 28
Port City vs. Rowan County, 10 a.m.
Rutherford County vs. Wilmington, 1 p.m.
Kannapolis vs. Fuquay-Varina, 4 p.m.
Wayne County vs. Cherryville, 7 p.m.

Thursday, July 29
Kannapolis vs. Rutherford County, 10 a.m.
Wayne County vs. Port City, 1 p.m.
Wilmington vs. Fuquay-Varina, 4 p.m.
Rowan County vs. Cherryville, 7 p.m.

Friday, July 30
Rutherford County vs. Fuquay-Varina, 10 a.m.
Wayne County vs. Rowan County, 1 p.m.
Port City vs. Cherryville, 4 p.m.
Kannapolis vs. Wilmington, 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 31
Semifinals at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 1
Championship game at time to be determined