TOP PLAYERS, TEAMS SET TO DO BATTLE
IN NCHSAA STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Some of the top players and teams in North Carolina high school baseball will be trying to add hardware to their trophy cases this weekend in the 97th annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association state baseball championship series.
The 2-A and 4-A series will get underway on Friday at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats, while the 1-A and 3-A classifications will get their series going on Friday at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers. All the series are best-of-three games, and each of the teams in the finals survived best-of-three regional championship series.
In Zebulon, the first game on Friday will start the 2-A series between surprising North Brunswick (17-11) and Monroe Piedmont (28-3).
The Scorpions of North Brunswick rallied to defeat Pittsboro Northwood two games to one in the Eastern series. North is led at the plate by junior catcher Shak Graham, hitting .360, and Shelton Perkins (8-2, 2.41 ERA) leads the way on the mound.
The North bats will be tested by a great Piedmont pitching staff that sports a team ERA of 1.59, led by Corey Sikes (9-0, 0.73 ERA). Outfielder Nigel Hester paces Piedmont at the plate with a .449 mark.
The second game Friday night at Five County Stadium will open the 4-A series between Fuquay-Varina (26-4) and South Mecklenburg (25-7), two teams making their fourth appearances in NCHSAA state baseball championship series.
Fuquay-Varina’s Garrett Suggs, an N.C. State signee, is battling a sizzling .449 while Brett Daniels is hitting .432 and is 12-0 on the mound with am 0.84 ERA. South Mecklenburg has a pair of .400 hitters in junior first baseman Harris Yett (.409), who has also hit six home runs, and switch-hitting catcher Logan Koch (.404).
The opening game at NewBridge Bank Park on Friday will be in the 1-A series between Midway (26-3) and defending state champ South Stanly (28-5).
South is in the finals for the fourth time in the last five years and has a great one-two pitching combination in Russ Weiker (11-1, 1.58 ERA) and Chase Poplin (8-2, 1.56 ERA) who is also hitting .414. Midway, in the finals for the first time since 1981, rides a 10-game winning streak into the championship. The Raiders’ Taylor Calcutt is a key player, 10-1 on the mound with an 0.64 ERA and also hitting .379.
The 3-A series will get underway at 8 p.m. on Friday with the opening game between Greenville D.H. Conley (27-3) and Weddington (22-10).
Conley is in the finals for the third time since 2005, with state crowns in ’05 and ’06, and the Vikings are led by Davis Kirkpatrick (11-1, 0.29 ERA, 137 strikeouts in 73.2 innings and a .419 batting average). Weddington battled past Hickory in a three-game regional series and is the defending 3-A champ, although the club got off to a slow 1-4 start. Outfielder Alex Bostic, the MVP of last year’s 3-A championship, swings a big bat for the Weddington Warriors, batting .393 with 11 homers and 35 runs batted in.
The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are serving as host city sponsors for the games at Five County.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2013 STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES—97th ANNUAL
all series best of three games
CLASS 4-A: FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON
FUQUAY-VARINA (26-4) vs. SOUTH MECKLENBURG (25-7)
Game 1: Friday, May 31 at 8 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1 at 2 pm
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 2-A)
CLASS 3-A: NEWBRIDGE BANK PARK, GREENSBORO
GREENVILLE D.H. CONLEY (27-3) vs. WEDDINGTON (22-10)
Game 1: Friday, May 31, 8 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1, 2 pm
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 1-A)
CLASS 2-A: FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON
NORTH BRUNSWICK (17-11) vs. MONROE PIEDMONT (28-3)
Game 1: Friday, May 31, 5 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1, 11 am
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1, 5 pm
CLASS 1-A: NEWBRIDGE BANK PARK, GREENSBORO
MIDWAY (26-3) vs. SOUTH STANLY (28-5)
Game 1: Friday, May 31 at 5 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1 at 11 am
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1 at 5 pm