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Coach, pitcher help get Asheville Post 70 to second round of playoffs

It's been three years since the Asheville Post 70 baseball team has made it to the second round of the American Legion Playoffs. The Cardinals have done it again this year, thanks to a new head coach and a star pitcher. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

It's been three years since the Asheville Post 70 baseball team has made it to the second round of the American Legion Playoffs.

The Cardinals have done it again this year, thanks to a new head coach and a star pitcher.

Coach Brian Pegg says that he is loving every minute of his new job.

"Overall, I have a blast. These guys are some of the best players in our area, and it's fun getting to spend every day around them," Pegg said. "Nine out of the last 10 days we've had a game. So, we've been around each other a lot."

Baseball has been a lifelong passion for Pegg. He was a star player at Erwin, and went on to play college ball at Montreat. Now, he's all-in with coaching.

"I enjoy being around kids who enjoy the game. I enjoy the different aspects of it," he said. "Baseball is a complicated sport. A lot of failure involved. A lot of chances to teach life lessons. It's good to be able to equate life to a sport, and baseball, I feel, is an easy way to do that."

For the first time since 2012, the Cardinals have advanced to the second round of the legion playoffs. Pegg has been able to use star pitcher Jack Ponder, an Enka graduate who has 79 strikeouts this season, which is a new record for the Cardinals. In just four innings of work Wednesday night, Ponder got 15 strikeouts.

"I got a lot of support there early on in my outing, and that helped me a lot in my outing, just kind of working on my fastball," Ponder said. "And those guys really helped me out in the dugout having that energy."

All that energy comes from the players who are feeding off the enthusiasm of coach Pegg.

"Coach has done great. It seems like a natural fit to come in here," Ponder said. "He knows a lot of the guys and it's been a great experience for both Asheville and for coach Pegg."

"I had two kids yesterday pitch for the first time in their lives. Whatever I need, they are open to doing it and that makes it a huge difference for me," Pegg said. "Being able to try to put games together and win."

The combination of solid coaching and phenomenal pitching could take Asheville Post 70 very far in the postseason.

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