Interesting Matchups Highlight NCHSAA State Softball Championships


            RALEIGH- -As usual, pitching and defense should be featured as the top fast-pitch softball teams in the state prepare for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championships this weekend. But there are also a number of players with spectacular offensive statistics in the eight-team field.

            For the third year in a row, the Eastern and Western champions in each classification will face off in a best of three championship series at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex.  All four of the championships are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. For many years the top four teams advanced to a double-elimination event.

            This will mark the 20th annual fast pitch championships and the 40th year for NCHSAA softball. The Raleigh Sports Consortium and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are among the host city sponsors.

            Here is a look at each of the four championships:

            Class 4-A:  This should be a fascinating matchup as Alexander Central (33-0), one of the state’s top softball programs, takes on Fayetteville Cape Fear (26-1) for the championship with the first game an 7 p.m. start Friday night. Alexander Central makes its 12th trip all-time to the state finals and fourth trip to Walnut Creek in the last six seasons.

            Alexander Central has been rolling, with 23 wins by 10 or more runs.  The Cougars get great play from Kiana Millsaps (.375, 6 HR, 38 RBI and also 17-0 with 0.85 ERA as pitcher).

            Haley Cashwell of Cape Fear has been a record-setter, batting an amazing .696 on the season.  Earlier this season she set a state mark with hits in 22 consecutive at-bats.

            Class 3-A: Pikeville Charles B. Aycock (21-3), a perennial softball power, takes on Monroe Sun Valley (24-5), with the opener at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

            The Golden Falcons of Aycock won the 2012 3-A championship and have made eight trips to Walnut Creek in the last 15 years. Meredith Burroughs is a terrific hitter (.516, 9 HR, 31 RBI) who sparks the offense.  Sun Valley will counter with Peyton Taylor, who is 10-0 in the circle with a 1.59 ERA and also is hitting .489 with 36 RBI.

            Class 2-A: Siler City Jordan-Matthews (23-4) and East Rutherford (25-3) open their 2-A championship series at 8 p.m. Friday.  Both are seeking their first NCHSAA softball state title, with East Rutherford back at Walnut Creek for the first time since 2005 and Jordan-Matthews there for the first time.

            Dee DeCristofaro leads J-M with a sizzling .540 batting average and has driven in 41 runs.  Holly Clark handles the Jet pitching duties (23-4, 1.19 ERA, 219 strikeouts and 17 walks in 159 innings). Savannah Davis is one of the big guns for the Cavaliers, batting .452 with 36 stolen bases and also hurled 10 shutouts during her pitching efforts.

            Class 1-A: Whiteville (25-6), the only school with a team in both the NCHSAA baseball and softball championships, will battle North Stokes (26-3), starting their championship series on Friday at 8 p.m.

            Whiteville’s six postseason victories this spring equals the Wolfpack’s previous all-time total in NCHSAA fast pitch playoff action. Whiteville is a very young team with freshman Sage McLelland hitting .531 with nine homers and 33 RBI, while freshman Laura Thompson is hitting .473 and soph Eden Brown has a team-high 41 RBI.

            Top players for North Stokes include Sabrina Dodson (.526, 7 HR, 29 RBI) and Chandley Garner (.521, 11 HR, 46 RBI) while Lindsay Brown sports a 1.29 ERA and 23-5 pitching mark.




Walnut Creek Softball Complex, Raleigh

All series best of three games



Friday, June 6: Game 1, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.



Friday, June 6: Game 1, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.



Friday, June 6: Game 1, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.


CLASS 1-A: WHITEVILLE (25-6) vs. NORTH STOKES (26-3), Field 1

Friday, June 6: Game 1, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 2, 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 7: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.


NCHSAA FastFacts

Event: 40th annual NCHSAA Softball Championships

Date: June 6-7, 2014

Site:  Walnut Creek Softball Complex

First Held: 1975 (slow-pitch); first fast-pitch tournament was in fall of 1994

Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state title in best two-of-three series; 64 schools initially qualified for playoffs in each classification

Last year's champions: 1-A: West Wilkes; 2-A: West Stanly; 3-A: Greenville D.H. Conley; 4-A: Alexander Central

Tickets: Eight dollars per game

Of Interest:  Only three players in NCHSAA history were three-time Most Valuable Players in the state fast-pitch softball championships: Chelsea Leonard of Central Davidson, Brittany Lehrschall of North Brunswick, and Haley Shelton of East Surry.

Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau