With near daily rains making fields unplayable, local American Legion teams had been forced to scramble to try and make up games before the end of the regular season.
But with nearly every team in the division needing to make up as many as five games and having just a handful of days in which to do it, Area 1 director Bob Figulski scrapped the remainder of the regular season and, as he put it, “put all eight teams in the barrel.”
“All of the teams are very happy with this move, I think, not having to make up so many games,” Figulski said.
He seeded all of them for the first round of the playoffs by winning percentage, with teams playing a best-of-three series starting Saturday.
That means last place Edenton Post 40 (1-10) is the eighth seed and will travel to face Rocky Mount Post 58 (8-2).
Edenton, according to Figulski, had to forfeit several games due to the use of an ineligible player. Post 40 also forfeited a doubleheader in Rocky Mount near the end of the season because it didn’t have enough players, according to a report in The Rocky Mount Telegram.
“We brought in two teams in the past couple of years — Windsor and Elizabeth City — that kind of took the area of Edenton pool players away from them,” Figulski said. “They weren’t able to get the players that they usually got.”
Albemarle Wildcats Post 84 finished 6-8 overall and 4-7 in the conference, and will be the seventh seed. The Wildcats, who took two forfeit wins against Edenton, travel to play second seed Kinston Post 43 (5-3).
Kinston and Albemarle split a pair of games this season, with Kinston winning 22-11 at home, and Albemarle scoring a 4-3 win at Northeastern High School.
Earlier in the season, Wildcats coach Dale Horn talked about the team’s struggles being a second-year team.
“We’re still trying to convince other players that we’ve got a good caliber team, that we can compete with everybody else in this Legion league, and as soon as we can convince a couple of other people, we’ll have a great team,” Horn said.
The higher-seed teams will host all the games in the first round, though Figulski said that if any of those teams’ fields are unplayable, the games would be moved to the site of the lower-seed team.
And, given the likelihood of rain, another scenario could play out.
If a best-of-three series can’t be completed due to the weather, the winner of the first game of the series will advance to the next round. The conference semifinals will also be best-of-three, and the conference final beginning July 14 will be a best-of-five series. The higher seeds will host those games.
“It was a difficult year, I tell you,” Figulski said. “Hopefully, there will be a let-up in the weather and it won’t rain for about two weeks, or at least until after the state tournament in Wilson.”
The state tournament is set for July 21-27.
Figulski said he understands the frustration of conference coaches due to the diluted player pool after adding teams in Elizabeth City and Windsor two years ago.
“It’s a situation we’re looking into in the offseason to see if something can be remedied out there,” Figulski said. “Sometime in October, we’ll try to bring everybody together. We also want to keep it so we can have competitive teams, and we’ll see what happens on that.”