Ryan Rickey ran the bases in a mock home run trot Saturday.
The rising senior from North Buncombe sloshed through the submerged base paths. He then dove head-first across a rain-slicked tarp covering home plate (twice nonetheless) as well as the outfield grass at Erwin.
Hamming it up throughout a downpour was about the most fun that Rickey and the rest of the Asheville American Legion Post 70 players had on the next-to-last day of their regular season.
Asheville absorbed a 7-4 loss to visiting Kings Mountain, then watched helplessly as their home field was deluged by rain before a second game against Henderson County could ever get started.
Along with Rickey, various other players from Asheville and Henderson County got in on the rain-delay hijinks before their game was called.
“Sometimes you just have to make the best out of the situation,” Rickey said with a grin.
Sunday is serious business for Post 70, which saw its record fall to 10-6 with Saturday’s loss.
Asheville can close out second place in the Western Division when it hosts Henderson County at 2 p.m. (at Erwin), before traveling to Haywood County for a 7 p.m. first pitch.
The Legion playoffs begin next week and will be seeded Monday night.
“We still control our own destiny,” Asheville coach Cort Radford said.
“The disappointing thing about (Saturday) is that it was the first time we’ve really had an error-filled inning (Kings Mountain scored four runs off three consecutive errors in the third inning). And it really cost us.”
Asheville has already won two more games than it did all of last season when Post 70 finished with an 8-6 record.
Casey Williams (Reynolds) was the hard luck pitcher who took the brunt of Post 70’s sloppiness on Saturday – he gave up seven runs, but only one was earned. Williams has signed with Catawba Valley Community College.
Williams was also 3-for-3 at the plate on Saturday. Appalachian State recruit Carson Jones (North Buncombe) went 1-2 with a double and a run scored and East Tennessee State rising sophomore Tanner Smith (a North Buncombe grad) was 1-2.
The game was only seven innings and a continuation of one rained out Friday at Kings Mountain. Asheville had runners on first and second base in the seventh inning Saturday, but the umpires ruled that a Kings Mountain outfielder snagged a liner just before it hit the ground, allowing him to double up a Post 70 runner who had prematurely left base for the game’s final out.
Rickey said that players for Post 70 don’t want to see the season come to an end.
“The season has been a blast,” Rickey said.
“Every time we run into a little adversity, it only brings the team closer together. I’ve really enjoyed everything about it.”