Cherryville Post 100 and Rutherford County Post 423 will begin a best-of-3 series beginning Thursday to determine the Area IV champion and the one seed entering next week’s American Legion Baseball North Carolina State Tournament.

All three games of the series are scheduled to be played at Fraley Field in Cherryville, with Rutherford County being designated the home team for Game 2 on Friday.

After going 7-4 in the regular season and earning the three-seed in the Western division, Rutherford County has won nine of its 12 playoff contests.

Post 423 dropped Game 1 of their opening-round series to Gastonia, before winning the next three games to advance to round two. Rutherford County then knocked out the Gaston Braves 3 games to 1, setting up a semifinal round series against Queen City with a state tournament berth on the line.

Following a 3-2 loss to Queen City in Game 1 of the series, Rutherford won three straight games to win the series, outscoring their opponent 38-20 in those three contests.

The pivotal game in that series was Game 3, when Post 423 came back from seven runs down in their final two at bats for a 9-8 victory and a two games to one series lead.

The comeback win for Rutherford apparently was too much for Queen City to overcome, as Post 423 took Game 4 by a score of 18-6 in five innings to reach the Area Finals.

Cherryville’s path to the Area 4 Championship Series hasn’t been quite as dramatic.

After receiving a bye in the first round, Post 100 swept Lincoln County 3 games to none, outsourcing the Cardinals 21-4 in those three contests.

Cherryville then took care of Mint Hill, the number-one seed out of the Eastern Division, with a three-game sweep. Post 100 outscored Mint Hill in those three games 27-7.

None of that matters now. It’s a clean slate for both teams and the series is not just for the Area championship, but for bragging rights.

No matter what the outcome is, both teams will compete in next week’s state tournament. However, both teams would like to have the Area IV Championship. Nothing beyond that point is promised. (Published July 21, 2021)

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