Prep Baseball: Plenty of scenarios tonight in NPC
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE — The 2012 season will be remembered as the year the NPC was the Never Predictable Conference.
No team has been great, but give East Rowan credit for squeezing out another championship. The Mustangs did it despite losses to South Rowan, West Rowan and North Iredell — three teams which may or may not be among the four NPC squads that make the 3A playoffs.
Many thought Carson or West Iredell might be ready to dethrone East. The Mustangs went 4-0 against those two.
Assuming South prevails at winless Statesville tonight, two teams that finish 6-6 will settle for fifth and sixth places in a seven-team league. It’s been such a strange, parity-filled year that if sixth-place South wins tonight, it will own more overall victories than champion East.
North Iredell’s Denny Key should be coach of the year. His team has keyed the craziness. After a listless home loss to South, North Iredell was 2-5 and gasping for air. Since then, NI has knocked off East — for the first time since 2005 — West Rowan and West Iredell.
Bizarre as it sounds, if North Iredell wins tonight at Carson — for a sweep of the Cougars — it will be the No. 2 seed for next week’s league tourney. If North Iredell loses tonight, it will plummet to No. 6. There’s that much riding on the finale for the NPC’s Cinderella story.
The other pivotal game tonight is West Iredell at West Rowan.
Carson is 7-4. West Rowan, North Iredell and West Iredell are bunched at 6-5. South enters 5-6 and with fingers crossed. The Raiders will need help.
Thanks to a sweep of North Iredell, South jumps to No. 4 if it takes care f Statesville while North Iredell and West Iredell both lose. South fans will be in the odd position of cheering for two of their heated rivals — Carson and West Rowan.
n Carson is the No. 2 seed for the tournament if it beats North Iredell.
The Cougars fall to No. 3 or No. 4 if they lose, and No. 4 can get bumped out of the playoff mix if a lower-seeded team wins the tournament. Carson drops to No. 4 if both Iredell teams win. Carson would be No. 3 if it loses but West Rowan wins.
Carson swept West Rowan.
n West Rowan is staggering toward the finish line. The Falcons looked to be in great shape after they beat South 1-0 to stand 6-2 in the league, but they’ve dropped their last three.
Still, the only way the Falcons finish outside the top four is if both the Falcons and Cougars fall tonight.
If there’s a three-way tie for fourth at 6-6 between West Rowan, South and North Iredell, West’s sweep of South and split with NI would give them the edge.
If Carson and West Rowan both win, the Falcons would be No. 3.