Baseball, softball tournament pairings announced

By John Cate -

Coaches from the various baseball and softball teams in the Northwest 1A Conference and the Western Piedmont 2A held their postseason meetings on Saturday morning, and pairings for the upcoming conference tournament were announced early in the afternoon.

While the outcome of these tournament doesn’t affect the status of the regular-season champions of each league, if a school wins a tournament championship from the No. 3 or lower seed, it automatically earns a state playoff berth and assumes the No. 2 playoff seed from that league. The league tournaments will also decide a situations in both leagues where one or more baseball teams tied for the same spot in the regular-season standings.

Northwest Conference

On the baseball side of things, East Surry received a favorable draw for the six-team postseason tournament. The Cardinals, who tied with North Stokes for second place in the conference, drew the No. 2 seed and will therefore join regular-season champion Walkertown in having a first-round bye.

Two opening-round games will be played on Monday evening. North Stokes (15-9, 7-3) is the No. 3 seed and will host No. 6 Atkins (2-16, 0-10) at 5 p.m., while fourth seed Bishop McGuinness (13-8, 4-6) will host Mount Airy (2-8, 3-18) at 6:30.

Mount Airy High School will host the semifinals and finals of the tournament. East Surry (14-9, 7-3) will face either North Stokes or Atkins at 4:30 on Wednesday afternoon. Walkertown (18-3, 10-0) will take on the Bishop-Mount Airy winner at 7 that evening. Should, as expected, the Cardinals and Vikings meet in the first semifinal, the game will decide which team receives the league’s No. 2 seed for the NCHSAA 1A playoffs.

The championship game will be played on Friday at 7 p.m.

The NW1A softball draw was more cut and dried, as each team down the line swept the regular-season series from those below it. North Stokes (17-1, 10-0) and East Surry (18-5, 8-2) earned the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds and byes into the semifinals, respectively. However, the Lady Cardinals may have a slight edge in that the semis and finals will be played on their field this season.

Top-seeded North Stokes will await the winner of Monday’s opening round game between fourth-seeded Mount Airy (5-15, 4-6) and Bishop McGuinness (6-14, 2-8). Those teams will play on Monday at 5 p.m. at MAHS. East Surry will face the winner of a first-round game between No. 3 Walkertown (9-14, 6-4) and visiting Atkins (4-18, 0-10), also on Monday at 5.

Semifinals will take place at East Surry on Tuesday evening. North Stokes will play at 5 and the hosts will take the field at 7.

The championship game will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m., also at East Surry.

Western Piedmont Athletic Conference

The coaches’ meeting settled one major issue that had left things up in the air after the outcome of Friday night’s games, when North Surry’s win over South Stokes and regular-season champ Forbush’s narrow escape at Surry Central created a three-way tie for third place in the final standings.

A drawing held during the meeting assigned the No. 3 seed to the Sauras. Surry Central received the No. 4 slot, and West Stokes was given the fifth spot. The significance of this for the Golden Eagles (12-12, 5-5 WPAC) is that they will host their first-round game and can win the conference tournament without leaving their home county, something that is also true for second-seeded North Surry (16-8, 6-4), which has a first-round bye and is the host school for the semifinals and finals.

In Monday’s first round, South Stokes (12-11, 5-5) hosts Carver in the 3-6 game, while Central hosts West Stokes (9-13, 5-5). The games are important for every school but Carver, as third place in the league as well as wild-card playoff berths are still up for grabs.

Semifinals in the WPAC baseball tournament will be held Tuesday night at North Surry. Forbush (16-7, 9-1) will play the winner of the game between the Golden Eagles and West Stokes, while North Surry plays the South Stokes-Carver winner.

The championship game will be played at North Surry on Thursday night.

The softball tournament also carries important playoff implications. While there are no ties in the standings that need to be resolved, both North Surry and Surry Central will be considered as wild cards for the state playoffs. The two teams will play one another on Monday night at 6 p.m. at NSHS in the 4-5 game of the tournament. Since Carver no longer fields a team, each of the top three teams in the league — No. 1 Forbush (21-1, 10-0), No. 2 South Stokes (9-12, 7-3) and No. 3 West Stokes (13-7, 6-4) — advanced to the second round automatically. The winner of the game between the Lady Hounds (8-15, 4-6) and the Lady Eagles (11-13, 3-7) will advance to the semifinals at Forbush on Wednesday night.

The Lady Falcons will play the winner of the Surry rubber match, while the two Stokes schools will square off in the other semifinal. The winners will play for the championship on Friday night, also at Forbush.

By John Cate

Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.

Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.

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