7-27-21 roundup: Legion baseball, College football and baseball, Olympics, Pro basketball and baseball

By Richard Walker

Perennial North Carolina American Legion baseball powers will descend on Cherryville’s Fraley Field this week for the 21st state championship tournament.

All-time N.C. state championship winner, state tournament participant and area champion Wilmington (12-0) is one of two unbeaten teams in the eight-team field. Wilmington 10 has won 12 state titles, 13 state tournament appearances and won 31 Area II titles.

The other unbeaten Fuquay-Varina (17-0) combined efforts in 2019 with another perennial power Garner and has won the last two Area I titles. Including Garner’s nine area titles, the Fuquay-Varina/Garner program is now tied with Pitt County Post 39 for the all-time lead in Area I with 11 championships apiece.

Rowan County (13-4) and Cherryville (19-5) won Areas III and IV, respectively, to extend their records for titles in each area.

Rowan County has won 20 Area III titles and Cherryville 19 Area IV championships. The teams also are tied for second all-time with 11 state tournament appearances apiece.

Rounding out the field will longtime powers Wayne County and Kannapolis, Area IV runner-up Rutherford County and first-time state tournament participant Port City.

Wayne County is making its first state tournament appearance since 2014 and eighth overall. Wayne also has finished as state runner-up six times.

Rutherford County is making its first state tournament appearance since 2010 and third overall.

And Port City becomes the 43rd team to make at least one appearance in the state tournament since the event began in 2000.

Here is the full tournament schedule for the 2021 state championship that will be held at Cherryville’s Fraley Field:

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

Ticket prices are the following:

Wednesday-Friday: $15 per session (2 sessions per day) or $20 day pass

Saturday: $15

Sunday: $10

All-tournament pass: $50





College football

Big South: Two-time defending league champion Monmouth has been voted the favorite on Tuesday at the conference’s annual preseason football media day in Charlotte.

The Hawks collected 16 of the 18 first-place votes. Kennesaw State was second in the 2021 preseason balloting and received one first-place vote. New Big South member North Carolina A&T claimed third-place with Charleston Southern fourth with the remaining first-place nod.

Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Hampton and Robert Morris rounded out the preseason voting. Associate member North Alabama is not eligible for the preseason ranking again this year as part of its transition from NCAA Division II to Division I.

The league also announced a preseason all-conference team led by Monmouth junior running back Juwon Farri (offensive player of the year) and Hawks senior defensive back Anthony Budd (defensive player of the year).

The full preseason all-league team follows:

QB – Tony Muskett, Soph., Monmouth
RB – Juwon Farri, R-Jr., Monmouth
RB – Jah-Maine Martin, R-Sr., North Carolina A&T
WR – Lonnie Moore IV, Gr., Monmouth
WR – Terrance Greene Jr., Sr., Monmouth
WR – Jadakis Bonds, Jr., Hampton
TE – Gene Scott, R-Sr., Monmouth
OL – AJ Farris, Gr., Monmouth
OL – Justin Szuba, Sr., Monmouth
OL – Jake Lassiter, Gr., Kennesaw State
OL – Mahmoud Shabana, Gr., Monmouth
OL – Manny Christian, Gr., Monmouth

DL – Shaundre Mims, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
DL – Ty French, Soph., Gardner-Webb
DL – Jermaine McDaniel, R-Sr., North Carolina A&T
DL – Kahari Scarlett, Gr., Monmouth
LB – Da’Quan Grimes, Gr., Monmouth
LB – Aniello Buzzacco, Sr., Robert Morris
LB – Eddie Hahn V, Gr., Monmouth
LB – Kyin Howard, R-Jr., North Carolina A&T
DB – Anthony Budd, R-Sr., Monmouth
DB – Cody Cline, Jr., Charleston Southern
DB – Darion Slade, R-Sr., Campbell
DB – Justin Terry, R-Sr., Monmouth

PK – Nathan Robertson, Sr., Kennesaw State
P – Joe Gurley, Gr., North Alabama
LS – Kent Vines, Sr., Monmouth
KR – Isaac Foster, Sr., Kennesaw State
PR – Isaac Foster, Sr., Kennesaw State

QB – Hajj-Malik Williams, Jr., Campbell
RB – Isaac Foster, Sr., Kennesaw State (tie)
RB – Narii Gaither, Jr., Gardner-Webb (tie)
WR – Korey Banks, R-Sr., North Carolina A&T (tie)
WR – Dexter Boykin, R-Jr., North Alabama (tie)
TE – Julian Hill, Sr., Campbell
OL – Clayton Frady, Soph., Gardner-Webb
DL – Erik Massey, Gr., Monmouth
LB – Justice Galloway-Velazquez, R-Jr., Campbell
DB – Eddie Morales III, Sr., Monmouth
P – Ryan Kost, Sr., Monmouth
LS – Ethan Ray, Gr., Charleston Southern
KR – Lonnie Moore IV, Gr., Monmouth
PR – Eddie Morales III, Sr., Monmouth


ACC: Preseason league favorite Clemson also has the most players named to the 27-member preseason All-ACC football team in voting done by media members at last week’s ACC Kickoff event in Charlotte.

The Tigers have eight players named to the team with North Carolina junior quarterback Sam Howell named the league’s preseason player of the year.

Howell received 114 of the 147 votes cast for the player of the year award.

The full preseason all-league team follows with their vote totals in parenthesis:

QB Sam Howell, North Carolina (118)
RB Zonovan Knight, N.C. State (96)
RB Mataeo Durant, Duke (49)
WR Justyn Ross, Clemson (110)
WR Zay Flowers, Boston College (101)
WR Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest (80)
TE James Mitchell, Virginia Tech (77)
AP Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia Tech (56)
OT Ikem Ekwonu, N.C. State (83)
OT Jordan McFadden, Clemson (53)
OG Zion Johnson, Boston College (82)
OG Joshua Ezeudu, North Carolina (56)
C Alec Lindstrom, Boston College (77)

DE Myles Murphy, Clemson (108)
DE Amare’ Barno, Virginia Tech (63)
DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson (120)
DT Tyler Davis, Clemson (53)
LB Payton Wilson, N.C. State (99)
LB James Skalski, Clemson (95)
LB Nick Jackson, Virginia (37)
CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson (86)
CB Tony Grimes, North Carolina (55)
S Bubba Bolden, Miami (100)
S Nolan Turner, Clemson (85)

PK Nick Sciba, Wake Forest (69)
P Lou Hedley, Miami (84)
SP Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia Tech (60)

Preseason player of the year voting with vote totals:

1. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina, 114
2. D’Eriq King, QB, Miami, 11
3. Bryan Bresee, DE, Clemson, 8
4. D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson, 6
5. Phil Jurkovec, QB, Boston College, 3
6. Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College, 2
6. Jahmyr Gibbs, AP, Georgia Tech, 2





College baseball

Zachary Wilson set history on Tuesday by becoming the first Cleveland Community College player to commit to a four-year school when Wilson committed to Tusculum.

Currently playing for Cherryville Post 100’s state tournament team, Wilson is a 2020 Burns High graduate who hit .292 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 38 games for Cleveland Community College’s first team this past spring.





A former Belmont Abbey student will compete for the United States Olympic team in the K-1 Slalom.

Michal Smolen, who attended the Abbey in the 2013-14 school year as a freshman, also competed in the 2016 Olympic Games where he finished 12th in the Single Kayak (K1) competition.

A native of Krakow, Polan, Smolen is 27 and lives in Charlotte and trains at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.




Pro basketball

The Charlotte Hornets continued their pre-NBA Draft workouts on Tuesday with a workout with Day’Ron Sharpe of North Carolina.




Pro baseball

Tuesday’s game against the High Point Rockers was postponed due to inclement weather. It will be made up on Wednesday as part of a 4:05 p.m. home doubleheader.

The Honey Hunter Hunters (23-29) will also host the Rockers at 6:50 p.m. on Thursday.