Thursday, June 28, 2012

What a difference a day made!

Jeremy Sloop
"What a difference a day made, twenty-four little hours ..."

Those lyrics from that great Dinah Washington standard kept waffling through my mind Wednesday evening as Rocky Mount Coleman-Pitt Post 58 had its rematch with Johnston County Post 71.

Literally, 24 hours after Post 58 had played perhaps its best overall game of the season, it came up with a stinker last night.

Johnston County rebounded from its first loss of the season by burying Post 58 14-2 in seven innings. Run-wise, it was Post 58's worst defeat of the season.

And the extra-base hit was Post 58's undoing.

Post 71 had only 10 hits, but they also banged out three doubles and a triple to help tally those 14 runs.

Rocky Mount managed just three hits on the night (singles from Spiers Miller, Khalil Macklin and Jeremy Sloop) and two of them came after Post 58 trailed 8-1.

Post 71 sent Post 58 starter Tyler King packing after 2 1/3 innings. He allowed seven runs on seven hits, walked two and only posted one strikeout.

Head coach Hank Jones then called on Dillon Moore, Spenser Ramsey, Jay Aparicio and Chase Johnson, but to no avail. It was Post 71's night.

Post 58 gets back into Area I East Northern Division play Friday when it makes its lone trip to Wilson to face Post 13. Game time is 7 p.m.

Johnston County Post 71 14
Rocky Mount Post 58 2

Johnston County Post 710431510
Coleman-Pitt Post 580001100

WP: Matt Bunn (4IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 3K)
LP: Tyler King (2-2, 2.1IP, 7H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, 1K)
Leading hitters: Post 71 - Austin Lee 2-5, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, R; Cody Alphin 3-4, 2B, 4 RBI; Ben Youngblood 1-3, 3 RBI. Post 58 - Jeremy Sloop 1-2, R; Spiers Miller 1-4; Khalil Macklin 1-3.

Records: Johnston County Post 71 13-1, Rocky Mount Post 58 14-5.

Macklin invited to USA Baseball tourney

Khalil Macklin
From the Nashville Graphic

CARY - Rocky Mount Coleman-Pitt Post 58 starter Khalil Macklin got a surprise invitation last week.

The rising Nash Central junior was asked to be among the top prep baseball talent in the nation and play in USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars competition held at its complex in suburban Cary. The event ran from Wednesday through Sunday.

USA Baseball's officials got word about Mackin's abilities and he was invited to participate despite being a 16-year-old and playing in the 18-under division.

The Tournament of Stars was made up of 144 of the nation's best ballplayers who were vying for an eventual spot on USA Baseball's 18U National Team. That team would travel internationally and represent the USA. Players were picked for teams representing one of USA Baseball's seven National Member Organizations (AABC, American Legion, Babe Ruth, Dixie, PONY, NABF and RBI) and an "at-large" team selected by USA Baseball. 

"I thought it was a great honor to be selected and named as one of the top 144 high school baseball players in the country," said Macklin, who is currently first or second in virtually every offensive category for Post 58.

USA Baseball and Major League Baseball covered all player costs associated with the event. The eight teams faced each other in pool play throughout the weekend. The event was used to pare those 144 players down to 40.

Fittingly, Macklin played for the American Legion team. He got to play in three of the team's four games while also participating in an all-day skills showcase  for scouts Thursday that was held on all four of USA Baseball's fields.

Unfortunately, Macklin didn't make the cut. But he was seen, and now his name will be on the tongues of the event's organizers for future teams.

"I wasn't necessarily disappointed," said Macklin about not making the top 40. "I just looked at it as another opportunity to get better for next year's tryouts. I was blessed for the experience.

Macklin, who will be suiting up for football in the next month or so for the Bulldogs, thought the whole adventure will help him focus on his talents for the future.

"I actually learned a lot of important tips this past week to help me improve my game," said Macklin, who will return to Post 58's lineup Wednesday evening when it hosts non-divisional foe Johnston County Post 71. " I think I did the best I could do. I think my experience will help me with Legion ball and high school ball because I know what I'm capable of doing, and if i keep working hard and stay hungry and humble, anything's possible."
                                                                                                                       - Charles Alston