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Editorial: A winning tradition

With its win against Shelby Wednesday night in Greenville, the Rowan County Legion baseball team captured the state title, a prize last gained in 2002.
As championship “droughts” go, seven years between titles is more a little dry spell than a desert of disappointment. After all, the Boston Red Sox had to endure 86 years of frustration ó the Curse of the Bambino? ó before recapturing the World Series in 2004. The Chicago White Sox went 88 years before returning to the winner’s circle in 2005. And then there’s the Chicago Cubs … 101 years and counting.
Still, it has seemed like a long time between state championships for local Legion fans, players and their coaches. That’s largely because of the great tradition of local Legion ball and the history of high accomplishment, which includes seven state titles and a Southeast Regional title in 1996, the last time a Rowan team advanced to the World Series. Those great teams of yore ó the 1955 Salisbury squad that finished third in the national playoffs, the 1984 turnaround miracle, the 2002 win machine ó wrote their own vivid chapters of local sports history and set a high bar for those who followed.
So far, this edition has given fans both thrills and chills in the playoffs, with ninth-inning heroics that produced a come-from-behind victory Tuesday night, followed by a Wednesday afternoon loss that set the stage for the win-or-go-home contest a few hours later.
Rowan’s boys of summer aren’t coming home yet ó at least not to stay. They’re now bound for Sumter, S.C., and the Southeast Regional tournament, which begins next Thursday. In championship play, the farther you go, the harder it gets. The South Rowan Legion team can attest to that fact after a solid, 17-win season that ended with a playoff loss to Mooresville. Rowan County hasn’t captured a regional Legion title in 13 years, and, of course, it’s still looking for its first World Series championship.
Regardless of what the future may hold, the 2009 Rowan County Legion team deserves hearty congratulations for the great season it has given local fans, many of whom made the trek to Greenville for the playoffs. Winning the state title is a proud moment for all of Rowan County. Savor this championship ó and cheer on the team as it takes the field for the next challenge.

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