Regular season play has wrapped up for local high schools as the school year draws closer to summer break, but spring sports are still in full swing. With the playoffs set to begin this week, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the brackets on Monday for baseball, softball and girls’ soccer. Below is a rundown of how the local schools fared in the pairings.
The Midway Raiders finished with an overall record of 16-6 and were victors of the Four County Conference with a record of 12-2. The Raiders received the No. 4 seed in the Mideast Sub-region and the No. 7 overall seed. Their first round opponent is East Duplin, who have an overall record of 12-10 and a fourth place finish in the East Central 2A Conference with a 4-6 record.
Insight: This isn’t a game Midway should take lightly as all of East Duplin’s losses have been close. East Duplin and Midway also have a pair of common enemies in Clinton and Wallace-Rose Hill. The Panthers fell in their only meeting against the Dark Horses, but they faced off against the Bulldogs three times. In those three games, East Duplin lost once but run-ruled Wallace-Rose Hill the other two times.
The Dark Horses have had a tough, up and down season. They finished with an overall record of 9-9 and a Four County Conference record of 5-9, putting them tied in fourth place with Union and Pender. Clinton received the No. 15 seed in the Mideast Sub-region and the overall No. 29 seed. Their opponent in the first round is the North Johnston Panthers who boast a 19-3 overall record and were champions of the Eastern Plains 2A Conference with a perfect 10-0 record.
Insight: The Dark Horses have a little bit of momentum on their side as they are coming off a big win over Wallace-Rose Hill to close out the regular season. They are going to have to channel every bit of that momentum as North Johnston looks to be a powerful foe.
The Leopards finished the regular season with a 9-7 overall record and an 8-6 Carolina 1A Conference record, which tied them in third place with North Duplin and James Kenan. They drew the No. 10 seed in the Mideast Sub-region and the No. 19 overall seed. They are set to travel to Camden County who finished 14-9 overall and placed second in the Coastal Ten 1A Conference with a record of 13-3.
Insight: When looking at Lakewood baseball, you get a sense of family. The Leopards are tight group that have the potential to be a sleeper throughout the tournament. Camden is a formidable opponent and a win against them could boost Lakewood to a deep playoff run.
The Spartans finished the season with a 10-13 overall record and were tied for fourth place in the Four County Conference with Clinton and Pender with a 5-9 record. Union drew the No. 15 Mideast Sub-region seed and the No. 27 overall seed. They are set to travel to Perquimans, the overall No. 2 seed, who were the champions of the Coastal Ten 1A Conference with an overall 20-2 record and 14-2 conference record.
Insight: The Spartans ended the regular season on a high note, winning six of their last 10 games, including stunning wins over West Bladen and Clinton. Taking advantage of this mini-run, Union was able to claw back into a position to qualify for the postseason and extend their season. A low seed, however, almost ensures the toughest of opponents, which means the Spartans are going to need a near-perfect performance if they hope to knock off Perquimans.
The Lady Raiders had an up and down season, finishing the regular season with a 12-9 overall record and a solid third place-worthy 10-4 Four County Conference record. Midway drew the No. 10 Mideast Sub-region seed and No. 22 overall seed. They are set to travel to No. 14 overall seed Washington out of the in the first round.
Insight: Midway’s No.22 overall seed is a bit deceiving. The top tier of the Four County Conference is strong, with teams like first place West Bladen finishing 19-3 overall and second place Wallace-Rose Hill finishing 17-5 overall. The Lady Raiders split with Wallace in the regular season and nearly split with West Bladen until the Lady Knights put together a game-winning rally in the final inning. Midway seems to be figuring some things out which make them a potential matchup nightmare going forward.
The Lady Wildcats had a solid season, finishing 12-5 overall and 7-5 in the Carolina 1A Conference, giving them a third place finish. They drew the No. 7 seed in the Mideast Sub-region and No. 12 overall. They host Gates County in the first round who is the No. 21 overall seed.
Insight: Hobbton has had a consistent season that saw only five losses. Unfortunately for the Lady Wildcats, all five losses were in conference and four of them were blowouts. They are a solid team that have the potential to make a solid run but the Lady Wildcats will have to dig deep to overcome the hurdles of high quality teams such as Princeton and North Duplin.
The Lady Leopards enter the postseason with an overall record of 6-9 and finished in fifth place in the Carolina 1A Conference with a 4-8 record. They received the No. 28 overall seed and are set to travel to No. 2 overall seed East Carteret.
Insight: East Carteret looks to be a powerful enemy for the Lakewood. They enter the postseason with a 19-2 overall record, suggesting that the Lady Leopards are going to have to play a near perfect game to knock off the Lady Mariners.
The Lady Dark Horses have had a stellar season, finishing 19-1-2 overall and a perfect 14-0 in the Four County Conference. They received the No. 2 seed in the Mideast Sub-region and the No. 2 overall seed. They are set to host No. 30 overall seed Roanoke Rapids, who is 6-10 overall.
Insight: Clinton has proved to be a force all season long, losing only one game at the very beginning of the season when a couple players were still playing basketball, and then upsetting No.1 Dixon earlier in the season. Most recently, the Lady Dark Horses pushed 4A Laney, who’s having a strong season themselves, to their only tied tied-up ending of the season. The ingredients are certainly there for Clinton to make a deep playoffs run.
The Lady Raiders are also having a great season, finishing 15-3 overall and second place in the Four County Conference with an 11-3 record. They received the No. 7 Mideast Sub-regional seed and the No. 12 overall seed. They will host No. 21 seeded North Johnson in the first round.
Insight: Midway has had a great season with two of their three losses coming to Clinton. Their other loss was a double-overtime and penalty kicks thriller against West Bladen when the Lady Raiders were missing a couple of key pieces. They have a chance to make a strong run in the playoffs but big opponents such as Clinton, Dixon, and Carrboro will be looming.
The Lady Wildcats enter the postseason with an overall record of 7-11 and a 4-9 Carolina 1A Conference record which puts them with a sixth place finish. They received an overall No. 19 seed and will travel to No. 16 seed and fellow Carolina 1A Conference foe Rosewood.
Insight: Hobbton has definitely had struggles this season as they finish below .500 both overall and in conference. Rosewood took both wins earlier in the season but both games were close, including one overtime contest. The Lady Wildcats are capable of advancing to Round 2 but they’re going to have to learn from their first two meetings against the Lady Eagles if they hope to knock them off.
Reach Daron Barefoot at email@example.com.