High school tournaments: West softball and East baseball are hosts

Published 12:01 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

Staff report

South Piedmont and Central Carolina Conference tournaments will be conducted in the week ahead.

South Piedmont Conference softball

An exciting, season-long race ended with West Rowan as outright champion with a 12-2 record and with Central Cabarrus and Carson tied for second place one game behind the Falcons. East Rowan finished fourth. South Rowan was fifth. Six teams make the tournament field. Northwest Cabarrus or Lake Norman Charter will be seeded sixth.

South will play at East in a first-round tourney game on Monday. Northwest will play at the No. 3 seed. At press time, the No. 2 and No,. 3 seeds were still to be determined by a drawing, as Central and Carson split and had the same record against every league opponent.

The team that draws the No. 2 seed and West Rowan will have first-round byes in the tournament.

West Rowan is the host team for Tuesday’s semifinals and for Thursday’s 6 p.m. championship game.

The 4:30 semifinal on Tuesday will be the teams from the 2-3-6 group. The 6:30 semifinal will be West against the South-East winner.

West will get the SPC’s best seed for the state playoffs regardless of what happens in the tournament. The top five SPC teams are certain to make the 32-team bracket for the 3A West state playoffs. Their current RPIs are West (6th), Central (9th), Carson (10th), East (14th) and South (22nd).

Emma Clarke is batting .540 with seven homers and 23 RBIs for West. Brooke Kennerly has 21 RBIs. Ashlee Ennis has 24 steals and has scored 33 runs. Arabelle Shulenberger has a 1.80 ERA.

Lexie Ritchie leads South with a .344 batting average. Kynlee Dextraze has hit five home runs. Carmen Thomas has scored 29 runs. Ritchie, Avery Fisher and Campbell Withers have 20 RBIs apiece.

Lonna Addison is batting .561 with eight homers and 32 RBIs for Carson. In the circle, she has a 1.40 EA. Landry Stewart is batting .453 with 28 runs and 21 steals.

Chloe Shank has hit seven homers for East Rowan.


Central Carolina Conference softball

The tournament will be conducted at East Davidson on Tuesday and Wednesday, with only the top four teams participating.

Salisbury will be the No. 4 seed and will play West Davidson in a semifinal on Tuesday. No. 3 South Davidson will play No. 2 East Davidson.

North Rowan did not make the tournament, but North’s season may not be over. The Cavaliers are currently 29th in the RPI rankings for the 1A West playoffs, and it will be a 32-team bracket.

Salisbury is 41st in the 2A West RPI rankings, so the Hornets will have to win the CCC tournament to extend their season into the playoffs.

Katie Peeler is batting .549 with seven homers and 29 RBIs for the Hornets, while Ashley Yang is batting .477 with 31 runs scored.


South Piedmont Conference baseball

West Rowan and  East Rowan finished tied for first with 12-2 records, but West’s sweep of the Mustangs means that the Falcons will get the SPC’s best seed for the state playoffs, regardless of how the tournament comes out.

The top six teams make the tournament. There was a tie for fourth between Carson and Northwest Cabarrus, who split with each other and also performed identically against every other team in the league. A drawing will determine who gets to host the Carson-Northwest first-round game that will be played on Tuesday. The other first-round game will be No. 6 South Rowan at No. 3 Lake Norman Charter.

Top-seeded West and second-seeded East have first-round byes.

East is the host team for Wednesday’s semifinals and for the championship game that will be played at Staton Field at 7 p.m. on Friday.

East will play in the early semifinal on Wednesday at 4 p.m., taking on the Lake Norman Charter-South Rowan winner.

West will play in the late semifinal on Wednesday, starting at about 7 p.m. West will take on the Northwest-Carson survivor.

The top five SPC teams are certain to make the 32-team bracket for the 3A West state playoffs. Their current RPIs are East (4th), West (5th), Lake Norman Charter (17th), Northwest Cabarrus (21st) and Carson (23rd). South Rowan is 39th in the 3A West RPI rankings, so the Raiders are unlikely to make the state playoffs — unless they get in by winning the tournament.

Keep in mind that East will be seeded behind all the conference champs in 3A West, so the Mustangs will be seeded about 9th or 10th for the 3A playoffs.

Lucas Graham has 32 hits and is batting .451 for West entering the tournament. Drew Burton has a .385 batting average, leads West with 22 RBIs and has an 0.95 ERA. Matthew Connolly has 11 doubles. Corbin Bailey is 6-0 with a 1.70 ERA. Brant Graham has a 1.40 ERA.

Cobb Hightower is batting .538 with 34 runs scored and 39 RBIs for the Mustangs. Morgan Padgett is batting .444 with 29 RBIs and is 6-1 on the mound. Blake Hill is batting .429 with 22 RBIs. McCall Henderson is batting .403 with 26 RBIs. Chance Mako is 6-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 73 strikeouts.

Hayden Simmerson leads Carson in RBIs with 19 and has an ERA of 0.81 with 88 strikeouts. Jacob Efird’s .322 is the top batting average for the Cougars.


Central Carolina Conference baseball

East Davidson and West Davidson tied for first with 11-1 records.

A draw will determine who is 1 and who is 2.

Salisbury and South Davidson tied for third with 6-6 records, but the Hornets will be seeded third for the tournament by their head-to-head sweep of South Davidson.

All seven teams get to play in the tournament. The No. 1 seed will get a first-round bye.

First–round games on Monday: (5) Thomasville at (4) South Davidson, (7) Lexington at the No. 2 seed, and (6) North Rowan at (3) Salisbury.

First pitch for that Salisbury-North game is at 6 p.m.

Tuesday’s semifinals will be played at Finch Field in Thomasville, with the Salisbury-North winner playing the No. 2 seed.

Wednesday’s championship game also will be played at Finch Field. Time TBA.

Salisbury is 45th in the 2A West RPI rankings, so the Hornets won’t make the state playoffs unless the win the tournament.

North Rowan is 36th in the 1A West RPI rankings.

Mike Geter is batting .415 for the Hornets and has 22 stolen bases, while Evan Koontz is batting .412. Landon Tucker is batting .353. Hank Webb has 21 steals.