North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Interesting Matchups in NCHSAA Softball Championships; Schedule Listed

          RALEIGH- -The top fast-pitch softball teams in the state are preparing for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championships this weekend, with finals set at two different locations. 

          For the fourth year in a row, the Eastern and Western champions in each classification will face off in a best of three championship series, and this year the championships will be held at collegiate facilities. All four of the championships are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, with the 1-A and 3-A finals at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Softball Stadium and the 2-A and 4-A schools competing at Dail Softball Stadium at North Carolina State University. For many years the top four teams advanced to a double-elimination event.

           This will mark the 21st annual fast pitch championships and the 41st year for NCHSAA softball. The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance is a host city sponsor for the games at Raleigh and the Greensboro Sports Commission has assisted with events in Greensboro. 
           Here is a look at each of the four championships:
           At UNCG Softball Stadium:

           Class 3-A: Northern Guilford (25-2) faces the only unbeaten team in the championship field in Enka (26-0), with the opener slated for 6 p.m. Friday.
           Northern Guilford makes its first trip to the state championship—in fact, it's the first time Northern has advanced past the third round in its best season in school history.  Ashton Lambeth was the Mid-State Conference Pitcher of the Year this season and  Caitlin Ray is hitting .469.
           Enka has been a perennially strong softball program but is back in state championship play for the first time since 2008. The 1996 team earned the state title and Jennifer Kruk, a player on that squad, is now the Sugar Jets’ head coach.
           The Sugar Jets are hitting .416 as a team, topped by Jasi Palmer at .577, and Jordan Harris is batting.476 with 14 homers and 48 RBI.

           Class 1-A: Hiwassee Dam  (24-3) will make the long trip from the Murphy area to play North Duplin (18-3-1), starting at 8 p.m. Friday. Both are seeking their first NCHSAA softball state titles. 
           Morgan Helton of Hiwassee Dam is the two-time Smoky Mountain Conference Player of the Year and teammate Haylie Shope has twice been named the SMC Pitcher of the Year.
           North Duplin is a young team with only two juniors and the rest of the roster freshmen and sophomores, led by sophomore Rylee Pate with a .469 batting average and 14-2 pitching mark with an 0.65 ERA.

          At Dail Softball Stadium, N.C. State:
           Class 2-A: South Granville (23-2), the only school that has both a baseball and softball team seeking championships this weekend, will open its softball series at 6 p.m. Friday against East Bend Forbush (27-1). Forbush has won five previous NCHSAA softball titles, three in fast pitch and two when slow pitch was offered. 
          South Granville is potent offensively, batting .467 as a team and led by senior captain Erin Boone at .598. Miranda Barker handles the pitching duties for South Granville.  Logan Wood is the big bat for Forbush (.534, 14 home runs. 54 RBI), as she was the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

          Class 4-A: Greenville D.H. Conley (26-2) takes on North Davidson (25-5) in the 4-A series opener at 8 p.m. Friday night.
          North Davidson, which won the state title in 2010 and has been runner-up five times,  eliminated two-time defending champion Alexander Central and snapped the Cougars’ record-setting winning streak in the sport at 95 earlier in the playoffs. Casey Stanek leads the North Davidson offensive attack, batting a red-hot .488 and pacing the club in several offensive categories.  Junior Carson Pace is 16-3 in the circle with a 1.07 ERA.
         D.H. Conley seeks its third crown in the last five years and the pattern is there—Conley won it all in 2011 and in 2013. The Vikings beat Apex in two straight in the Eastern Regional series. 



UNC-Greensboro Softball Stadium, Greensboro

CLASS 1-A: NORTH DUPLIN (18-3-1) vs. HIWASSEE DAM (24-3)

Friday, June 5: Game 1 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 2 at 2 p.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 3, if necessary, at 8 p.m. (5 p.m. if no third game in 3-A)



Friday, June 5: Game 1 at 6 p.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 2 at 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 3, if necessary, at 5 p.m.


Dail Softball Stadium, N.C. State University, Raleigh


Friday, June 5: Game 1 at 6 p.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 2, at 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 3, if necessary, at 5 p.m.



Friday, June 5: Game 1at 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 2 at 2 p.m.

Saturday, June 6: Game 3, if necessary, at 8 p.m. (5 p.m. if no third game in 2-A)

NCHSAA FastFacts

Event: 41st annual NCHSAA Softball Championships

Date: June 5-6, 2015

Site:  Dail Softball Stadium, N.C. State University; UNC-Greensboro Softball Stadium

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: North Stokes; 2-A: East Rutherford; 3-A: Sun Valley; 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: Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance in Raleigh