Local softball, baseball teams set for playoffs

From staff reports
Posted 5/10/22

Eleven Record area teams are set to extend their respective seasons on the diamond as announced by the NCHSAA on Monday.

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Local softball, baseball teams set for playoffs

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A grand total of 11 Record area teams are set to extend their respective seasons on the diamond as announced by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Monday.

Six area programs were selected for the softball championships and five local baseball teams will participate in the state tournament.

Here’s the quick rundown of who made this year’s postseason field, as well as the first-round matchups set to start Tuesday.

SOFTBALL

Riding its longest win streak in over a decade, South Johnston (19-1) was rewarded for a dominating season by receiving the 3A East bracket’s No. 2 seed and hosts No. 31 Terry Sanford (11-9).

Led by senior ace Kennedy Byrd, who is also one of four Lady Trojans batting over .400, South possesses one of the tourney’s most well-balanced rosters. The group finished a perfect 14-0 in Quad County Conference play, easily winning the league’s first title.

Seventh-seeded Harnett Central (19-5) claimed the inaugural All American Conference tournament championship last week and hosts No. 26 Union Pines (12-9) Wednesday.

Central has just one loss in the last five outings and has six batters with an average north of .400, led by sophomore slugger Savannah Bain (.507). On defense, Kacey Fulcher boasts a league-leading 12 wins from inside the circle.   

Meanwhile, AAC co-champ Triton (15-6) is the 18th seed and travels to No. 15 West Carteret (15-8).

The Lady Hawks were the only team to hand Central a league loss this season. Aubree Bass ranked second in the conference in both wins and strikeouts while tying teammate Takyra McLean with an AAC-topping 34 RBIs.

Falling just short to Central in the league tournament final, No. 21 Western Harnett (13-7) has a road date with 12th-seeded Person (16-4).

The Lady Eagles have won four of their last five and are led offensively by Ava Basolt, who topped the conference with a .548 batting average. Meanwhile, Katie Neel was one of only three AAC pitchers with over 100 punchouts.

Midway (13-7) makes its return to the 2A East bracket as the No. 9 seed and hosts No. 24 Manteo (8-11).

The Lady Raiders only dropped two league games this season en route to claiming the SAC-7 championship. Midway boasts a trio of freshman pitchers in Sarah Autry, Gleena McLamb and Jordyn Christopher — all of whom have at least four wins from inside the circle.      

No. 29 Hobbton (5-12) travels to fourth-seed Northside-Pinetown (13-7) for a 1A East matchup.

The Lady Wildcats won their first five Carolina Conference games before dropping their final three to close the regular season. 

BASEBALL

No. 32 Overhills (8-11), the final team to make the 4A East field, has a date with top-seeded New Hanover (18-4).

The Jags finished fourth in the AAC standings, beating out Pine Forest by one game to receive the split conference’s automatic 4A bid.   

Hunter Beard paces Overhills on the mound with 76 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. Caleb Hamacher boasts a team-leading .485 batting average.

In the 3A East bracket, 17th-seeded South Johnston (12-8) figures to have a testy road matchup with No. 16 (15-9) Southern Lee.

The Trojans, who took second place in the QCC standings, went 6-4 to close out the regular season. Recent Methodist University commit Paul Olive leads South in almost every major pitching category.

Joining the Trojans will be nearby foe Triton (17-7), who earned the No. 22 seed and travels to 11th-seeded Carrboro (11-9).

The Hawks are fresh off a 1-0 shutout over AAC regular-season champ Terry Sanford during last week’s league tournament final. Senior ace Hayden Pope has a 6-3 record, while Ross Stevens leads the offensive charge with a conference-topping .580 batting average.

After adding another league title to its storied past, No. 5 Midway (13-8) is scheduled to host closeby Southeastern Athletic Conference rival Clinton (10-11), who got the 2A East’s No. 28 seed.

The Raiders, led by Casey Culbreth’s .403 batting average, come into the postseason winning four of the last five. They beat the Dark Horses 2-1 on April 4 and 4-0 on April 5.

In 1A East action, No. 29 Hobbton (7-13) travels to fourth-seeded North Moore (16-1).

The Wildcats have had a rough closing stretch, losing six of the last eight -— including a 10-0 setback to North Moore on April 16.

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