RALEIGH — The Powerade State Games kick off today for baseball, with soccer and softball close behind.
The 29th-annual games moved from Charlotte to Raleigh this year.
Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties compete in Region 7, while Stokes is part of Region 5 that includes Forsyth, Davidson and Guilford counties.
The 2015 opening ceremonies will be held June 19 in City Plaza in downtown Raleigh. The opening ceremonies feature a commemorative gift for participating athletes, inflatables, games, music, a parade of athletes and a lighting of the cauldron to announce the official start to the 2015 Powerade State Games of North Carolina. Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker will be one of the featured guests.
While the opening ceremony is Friday, the games get started a day early.
North Surry’s Brady Watts and Kendal Tucker and East Surry’s Tyler Smith were selected for the Region 7 team. It is the second appearance for Watts, who teamed with East Surry’s Tyler Marion to pitch Region 7 to the gold medal last year.
Watts, a southpaw and rising senior, struck out 15 to beat West Wilkes 3-2 in the fourth round of the state playoffs. Then he pitched a shutout in the championship series for the Hounds’ only win.
Tucker is a rising junior shortstop for the Hounds (23-5), who missed most of his freshman season with a hip injury he suffered during basketball.
Smith is a rising senior for the Cardinals, who went 25-4 this season and reached the fourth round of the 1A West playoffs. Smith pitched East to a 10-0 win against Avery County in Round 1 and a 6-0 victory against Murphy in the third round.
Smith also was a starter at forward on the basketball team and was the quarterback for the football team.
Region 7 takes the field today at 3:45 p.m. against Region 5.
Softball action takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
East Surry head softball coach Randy Marion will be the head coach for Region 7. Joining him on the coaching staff will be East assistant coach Richard Layne and North Surry head coach Willie Hodges.
Marion is in his second year at the helm for the Lady Cardinals. The Cards went 19-7 this season behind the arm of Emily Cummings, who made the Region 7 team.
Hodges is in his third year coaching for the Lady Greyhounds. A year ago, he guided North to an 18-5 overall record and 9-2 Western Piedmont Conference mark — good for second place behind perennial powerhouse Forbush.
It will be the second straight season a Surry County coach has been picked for Region 7. In 2014, Surry Central softball coach Glenn Craddock helped coach Region 7 to a bronze medal in the Games.
Along with Cummings, the team will feature rising sophomores Bethany Clayton, East Surry, and Claire Via, Surry Central; rising junior Bayle Wood, Elkin; and rising senior Kirstan Beaver, Elkin.
Will Hurley (Mount Airy), Seth Davis (Forbush) and Chris Manley (West Stokes) were selected to coach at this year’s Powerade State Games High School Soccer Showcase on June 26-28 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
Some of the best boys and girls soccer players in the state will represent their home areas at the High School Soccer Showcase.
Hurley will be the head coach for the Boys Midwest team, where he’ll be assisted by Davis, Danny Villa of Eden Morehead, Paul Hicks of Reagan and his son Holden.
Hurley guided the Mount Airy boys to an 11-8-3 mark last season. In 2013, the Bears went 20-1-2 and reached the Class 1A Western regional semifinal. He has also led the Lady Bears to a program-best record of 14-5-1 this season. Forbush, a perennial power in boys and girls soccer, was 20-3 in the fall under Davis.
There are fewer soccer teams in the state than baseball, so the Powerade Games doesn’t use the region system here.
The best players are split into six teams for the boys and just four teams for the girls.
Hurley will have one of his own players on the Midwest team in Daniel Ballard. Also on the team are Forbush’s Joshua Sisk and Schuyler Eldridge, Walkertown’s Jonathan Oldham, and West Stokes’ Trent Washer.
Manley will be the head coach for the Girls South team, where he’ll be joined by Vic Johnson of Union Academy and Jay Niessner of Central Academy. Manley guided the Lady Wildcats to the Class 2A state title last year.
Three Western Piedmont players are on the South team, coached by Manley. Those are Madison York, Forbush, and Jordan Grubbs and Liz Nail, West Stokes.
• Next month, two area soccer players will participate in the 2015 East-West All-Star men’s soccer game.
East Surry’s Souli Boutis and Forbush’s Robert Cornelius will be on the West roster for the game July 21 at UNC Greensboro’s soccer stadium.
The East team will feature Cristian Calderon, who was a member of the Wallace Rose-Hill team that beat East Surry in the state championship.
Boutis is a four-year all-conference selection, reigning Northwest player of the year and becomes the second local player in as many years to make the all-star team, following Mount Airy’s Mitchell Brown last July.
Boutis finished his career as the all-time East Surry leader in assists.
Souli could have been the career scoring leader if that was what he wanted, said East coach Bill Hart. He wasn’t one of those outspoken leaders, and he played the game the same way, deferring to his teammates rather than trying to make the score himself.
“Souli is the most talented player that we’ve had,” said Hart. He never complained when the coach was on his back. He worked hard on the field and showed a “brilliant soccer mind.”