Union County On Roll Heading to Postseason

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These are busy times for the Union County American Legion Baseball team and Post 535 seems to be getting stronger with each outing.

Union County won three games this past weekend to move to 13-0 on the season and Post 535 is currently ranked second in North Carolina. Union County is a under-19 Legion team comprised of former players from Union County high schools.

Team members include Cameron Smetak (Weddington High), Logan Plattenburg (Parkwood High), Josh Karklin (Cuthbertson High), Sam Little (Piedmont High), Erik Ryan (Parkwood High), Pat Bradshaw (Valley Forge Military Academy), Matt Moser (Piedmont High), Callen Nuccio (Cuthbertson High), Drake Smith (Weddington High), Sam Mennitt (Cuthbertson High), Brian Petta (Weddington High), Jake Karklin (Cuthbertson High), Nick Cooper (Weddington High), Matt Wells (Marvin Ridge High), Jacklin Ohs (Cuthbertson High), Patrick Morrison (Cuthbertson High), Zach Houston (Cuthbertson High) and Ryan Johnson (Cuthbertson High).

On June 24, Union County defeated Gastonia 9-5 before defeating Mint Hill 12-5 and Lincoln 11-0 in a split doubleheader June 25. Union County defeated Mint Hill for the second time this season at home on Sunday afternoon before traveling to Lincoln where Ryan threw a complete game shutout.

Smetak picked up the pitching victory against Mint Hill to move to 3-0 on the year. Ryan is also 3-0 on the year. Ohs is 2-0 on the year while Petta is 2-0 with one save.

Ryan has not given up an earned run in 18 innings of work this season. Ohs has a 1.59 ERA while Smetak is at 2.95. As a team, Union County has a 2.34 ERA.

As a team, Union County is batting .359 and the team is averaging almost 10 runs a game.Thru the first 13 games, Nuccio is leading the offensive attack with a .540 batting average that includes a team best 15 RBIs.

Mennitt is batting .500 with 11 RBIs while Nick Cooper is batting .439 with 13 RBIs. Jake Karklin is next with a .394 batting average and Ohs is batting .348. Jake Karklin and Ohs have 12 and 10 RBIs, respectively.

Union County will continue its hectic pace in the coming days as the team prepares for the postseason. Post 535 played at Shelby June 26 and they hosted home games against Maiden on June 27 and Gastonia June 28. The Area 4 Tournament begins July 1 with three rounds of best-of-5 series with home and away games.

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at ripig1979@yahoo.com.