Sports Shorts for June 29

by Aaron Garcia and Andrew Stark

Post 535 racing toward Eastern Division title

Defense wins championships. It’s the oldest mantra in the book, regardless of sport. But according to Unionville Post 535 American Legion baseball coach Alan Mitchell, it’s the other things that have gotten his team into first place in Area IV’s Eastern Division.

“I tell our guys (that) pitching and offense is what wins American Legion baseball games because all the teams can play defense,” said Mitchell. “You don’t see a lot of errors in Legion ball.”

With an overall record of 9-2, that’s exactly what Post 535 has relied on this season. Headed into the final week of regular-season play, Post 535 has won five of its last six games by an average score of 10-3. On the season, Post 535 has held opponents below four runs in a game seven times while scoring five or more runs 10 times.
Entering the final week of the regular season, Mitchell said he’s been impressed with how quickly this year’s team built camaraderie.

“After we all got together the first time, I knew from the beginning that we had a chance to be a really good baseball team,” Mitchell said. “These guys, they just came together so well for us. That’s the biggest thing – they sort of all knew each other. We’ve got a lot of guys that play for the guy next to him.”

Post 535’s pitching staff has been led by recent Marvin Ridge graduate and rising Coastal Carolina freshman Tyler Chadwick, along with Weddington alum Jordan Newsome, who just finished his freshman season at Wingate. Mitchell said he’s also received some big innings from Marvin Ridge’s Carter Harris and David Weidman, Sun Valley’s Steven Blythe and Nick Norton, and Parkwood’s Wilson Conley.

Of course, it also helps to have a stable of catchers in Cuthbertson’s John Mangum, Weddington’s Andrew Knight and Parkwood’s Jacob Rand.

“All three of those guys are excellent defensive catchers, and they can all swing the bat well, too,” said Mitchell. “I could pull one guy and slide another in and not miss a beat.”

Post 535 was slated to travel to Lincoln County Post 455 on June 28 before visiting Charlotte Post 262 on Friday, June 29. Mitchell’s club concludes its regular season at home against Huntersville Post 321 on Saturday, June 30.

Thanks to a recent 14-inning 6-5 loss to the Gaston Braves on June 26, Post 535 dropped into a tie for first place with Huntersville, which will make the final three games even more important.

“We really can’t afford a lot of slip-ups,” said Mitchell. “But the biggest thing is a loss isn’t always a bad thing. You never want a team to get too high or too low at any time during a season. A little bit of complacency can sneak in there if you win all the time. I’ve always said, ‘You don’t really learn a lot from wining, but you can learn a lot from losing.’

“With the group we have this year, the guys will go back and evaluate (the loss) and probably those same mistakes won’t happen again.”

Metrolina’s Abraham wins state Jr. Olympic title

Marcus Abraham followed up his strong freshman campaign at Metrolina Christian Academy, during which he won a private-school state title in the discus, with a pair of strong finishes at last weekend’s N.C. USA Track & Field Junior Olympics meet in Durham.

Abraham threw the discus 140 feet, 5 inches to claim gold in the Intermediate boys competition, which eclipsed his previous personal best of 138-10. Abraham also set a personal shot put record of 45-3, good for third. His previous standard was 44-10.

The WCWAA 11U all-stars won the District 3 baseball tournament. The team includes (front row, from left) Anthony Casciola, Nick Foray; (middle row) Sam Cardwell, Isaiah Williams, Andrew Kerry, Gordon Soffel, Jackson Stinchfield, Trevor Grant, Matt Duggan, Joe Gregoire, Seb Weidman, Drew Cognac; and (back row) assistant coach Gene Casciola, manager Luke Weidman and assistant coach Chuck Cardwell.

11U WCWAA baseball team wins TOC crowns

The 11U Weddington Americans of the Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association claimed the District 3 Tournament of Champions crown on June 22 with a 3-0 win over Charlotte’s Coulwood-Oakdale.

The Americans earned the top seed in the medal round after four convincing wins in pool play. They beat Charlotte’s Steele Creek (by scores of 11-0 and 13-1), Mint Hill (13-3) and Pineville (10-4). The Americans then beat Charlotte’s Myers Park in the semifinals, 6-4, thanks to home runs from Nick Foray and Joe Gregoire, and three scoreless innings from pitcher Anthony Casciola. Pitcher Andrew Kerry then threw a complete-game gem in the championship game to earn the win.

Next up for the Americans is the District 3 championship tournament, which is slated to begin July 7.  The winner of that tournament will go on to the state tournament in Morganton.

Golden Ticket offers rare chance to see area sporting events

For the second consecutive year, area residents will have a chance to win “a sports enthusiast’s dream” as the Charlotte Sports Commission has opened the public Golden Ticket raffle.

Tickets cost $50 each.

The winner of the Golden Ticket raffle will receive tickets to every major sports event in the Charlotte area over the next year, including:
• Two Clubhouse and Hospitality tickets to the 2012 Chiquita Classic Nationwide Tour golf tournament at The Club at Longview in Weddington
•Two Premium tickets to a 2012 Carolina Panthers game
•Two 2012-13 Charlotte Bobcats season tickets
•Two 2012-13 Charlotte Checkers hockey season tickets
•Four 2013 Charlotte Hounds lacrosse season tickets
•Two 2013 Charlotte Knights baseball season tickets
•Two Lawn and Clubhouse tickets to the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament
•Two Charlotte Eagles soccer season tickets
•Two 2013 Charlotte Motor Speedway season tickets
•Two zMAX Dragway season tickets
•Two 2012 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship tickets
•Two Belk Bowl tickets
•Two CIAA basketball tournament ticket books
•Two 2013 ACC men’s basketball tournament tickets (Greensboro)
•Two 2013 Charlotte 49ers football season tickets

Proceeds from the Golden Ticket raffle will benefit the Charlotte Sports Commission.

Tickets are on sale now until Aug. 23 at 11:59 p.m. The drawing will be held on Aug. 24. To purchase tickets, visit

For more information, contact Chris Raynor of the Charlotte Sports Commission at 704-688-8167 or craynor@­

The Weddington Warriors 7U baseball team was fueled by (front row, from left) Alex Nunez, Hayden Turi, Dominick Kelley, Mark Lewis, Quinn Hilligoss, Jason Muglia, Matthew Grant, Max Floren, Clayton Kelley, Brian Gonzalez, Daniel Valentine, Bryson Austin; and (back row, from left) coaches Vince Muglia, Michael Gonzalez, Larry Valentine, and manager Brock Austin. Not pictured: Cooper Smetak

Seven-year-olds win tournament title

The Weddington Warriors  all-star team of the Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association won the inaugural District 3 7U Tournament of Champions on June 22.

The Warriors downed Charlotte’s Coulwood-Oakdale in the final, 18-7. The win capped a stellar tournament for the Warriors, who went 5-0 and outscored their opponents by 47 runs (90 to 43).

The Warriors will next play in the District 3 championship on July 7 for the right to advance to the state tournament.

Annual Links for Lupus golf tournament returns for 12th year

The 12th annual Links for Lupus charity golf tournament will take place on Aug. 27 at Cedarwood Country Club in south Charlotte.

Individuals can register for a fee of $200 per person, and the cost for foursomes is $700. The shotgun-style start is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., and there will be an awards banquet and reception following the tournament at 5:30 p.m. Each participant will receive lunch and dinner, beverages during play and a team picture. Prizes will be awarded to the top three scorers.

In its 12 years, the tournament has raised more than $341,000 for LFA Piedmont Chapter, an organization that provides local education and support services to 15,000 people in the Charlotte area who are living with lupus.

For more information, call 704-716-5640 or send an e-mail to info@­

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