Prep sports: Playoff pairings announced; lots of games tonight
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Baseball, softball and girls soccer playoff seeds and pairings were announced by the NCHSAA on Monday.
Most games will be played tonight. Weather conditions look more favorable for tonight than Wednesday. First-round games are supposed to be played by Wednesday.
Expect a $6 admission charge for baseball games.
Some South Piedmont Conference baseball coaches weren’t overly thrilled with playoff pairings that created rematches of rematches.
Third-seeded West Rowan (22-5) must take on familiar SPC opponent Concord, the No. 30 seed in the 32-team 3A West bracket, for the fourth time this season. That game is set for 7 p.m. tonight.
West beat the Spiders, 8-3 and 6-0 during the regular season and 11-1 in the league tournament.
West will put Austin Love, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-hander on the mound. The junior UNC commit has been awesome — 8-1, 1.09 ERA, 99 strikeouts. He hasn’t faced Concord. The Spiders were matched up with Bryan Ketchie twice and Caleb Link once.
Concord (12-13) will no doubt pitch ace right-hander Will Horsley, who also brings outstanding velocity to the mound.
“It’s a bad draw,” West coach Seth Graham said. “You’d really rather play somebody different. Concord has a good team, but, at least, they haven’t faced Austin. Hopefully, he’ll pitch another good one and we’ll play clean defense.”
In another all-SPC matchup, No. 20 South Rowan (16-8) will take on No. 13 East Rowan (17-8) for the third time on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Staton Field.
“I think it’s dumb for South and us to be playing each other in the first round,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “But I’ve been watching the NCHSAA do this stuff for 20 years, so it’s not like it’s ever going to change. You just go out and play who they tell you to play.”
That game should provide the third matchup of the year between East ace John Owen and South ace Blake Johnson. East romped, 8-0, at Staton Field, but South won, 4-3, against the Mustangs at home on April 28.
In the 2A ranks, No. 16 Salisbury will host No. 17 West Davidson on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Central Carolina Conference rivals split regular-season meetings and Salisbury (12-14) recently won a 2-1 tournament game with the Green Dragons (18-6) for the league’s No. 2 seed. The teams will be meeting for the fourth time — since April 19. Now that’s way too much of a good thing.
Who got the toughest, first-round draw of all?
Maybe North Rowan, which will face another bunch of Cavaliers.
Seeded 10th in the 2A West bracket, North (17-7) didn’t get much of a reward for winning the CCC championship. East Rutherford (16-7) was the second-highest 2A finisher in a split 2A/3A league that includes 3A bullies Crest and Kings Mountain as well as 2A power R-S Central.
East Rutherford was seeded as a wild card, which explains how it got the No. 23 seed.
East Rutherford is a perennial power. It has won five state championships under legendary coach Bobby Reynolds and finished second in the state three other times.
North has been on a roll and has won 10 straight. Lefty Brandon White, who has won his last four decisions, will pitch.
That game will be played at North at 7 p.m. tonight.
2A — (17) West Davidson at (16) Salisbury, 7 p.m., tonight
2A — (23) East Rutherford at (10) North Rowan, 7 p.m., tonight
3A — (30) Concord at (3) West Rowan, 7 p.m., tonight
3A — (20) South Rowan at (13) East Rowan, 7 p.m., Wednesday
3A — (18) Morganton Freedom at (15) Carson, 7 p.m., Wednesday
4A — (21) Mooresville at (12) Davie County, 7 p.m., tonight
4A — (23) A.L. Brown at (10) East Forsyth, 7 p.m., tonight
2A — (21) Salisbury at (6) Swannanoa CD Owen, 6 p.m., tonight
3A — (17) West Rowan at (16) SW Randolph, 6 p.m., tonight
3A — (23) East Rowan at (10) West Iredell, 6 p.m., tonight
4A — (28) Myers Park at (5) A.L. Brown, 6 p.m., tonight
4A — (20) Davie County at (13) Hough, TBA
4A — (32) Davie County at (1) Providence, TBA
4A — (28) A.L. Brown at (5) Lake Norman, TBA
3A — (31) Carson at (2) SW Randolph, TBA
2A — (17) Surry Central at (16) Salisbury, 6 p.m.
1A — (31) Walkertown at (2) Gray Stone, TBA