Local teams set for playoff action
The long regular seasons are over and for six local programs, the chase for a state title lives on.
Softball teams from R-S Central, East Rutherford and Chase all suit-up on Friday for first-round battles while their baseball counterparts from R-S Central, East Rutherford and Thomas Jefferson all face similar challenges.
Four of the six programs claimed home games in the first round while Chase softball and East Rutherford baseball will load the buses in search of a spot in the second round.
East Rutherford (14-5) vs. South Iredell (9-12)
East Rutherford head coach Jamie Powell: "I don't know about South Iredell. But you can take all the scouting reports at this point and throw them out the window. It all depends on if your team shows up. For us it all depends on if we bring our bats. Defensively we're strong so we just need to bring our bats."
Chase (11-5) at Brevard (18-3)
Chase head coach Daniel Bailey: "Our team has been playing pretty well here of late. We lost to East but other than that we've really played well through the second half of conference. We look forward to getting back out there and getting in rhythm. We've been hitting a lot of live pitching in practice so hopefully our bats will stay hot.
"Brevard comes out of a good conference . They have a veteran coach and they like to play a lot of 'small ball' and utilize their speed. We expect them to be aggressive on the base paths.
R-S Central (7-12) vs. Erwin (13-8)
R-S Central head coach Melvin Digh: "Erwin is pretty comparable to us. I feel like if we have a real good week of practice we have a real shot at winning. I like how we've been playing."
Thomas Jefferson (12-9) vs. Elkin (9-12)
Thomas Jefferson head coach Chris White: "This is our third year in a row hosting a game in the playoffs and of course you always want to win, but for us making the playoffs is expected but winning a game in the playoffs is something we're going to have to step up to accomplish. Before it was about the thrill of getting there but now we're good enough that we should be able to make a run...Overall we should have the better team and really should have the advantage going in.
R-S Central (13-9) vs. Asheville (11-13)
R-S Central head coach Chadd Fowler: "It's a good draw. It really doesn't matter who you play because you still have to show up and play good, sound baseball. Asheville is well-coached and kind of similar to us. They're going to bunt and run a little bit. We just have to be able to throw strikes, play defense and get some timely hitting.
"We feel good about it but we're more worried about us coming out and playing well. They got a good pitcher but hopefully we'll be ready to swing the bats."
East Rutherford (15-9) at Pisgah (11-8)
East Rutherford head coach Bobby Reynolds: "We hope to go to Pisgah and have a good offensive night. We hope to throw strikes. The word on Pisgah is that they hit really well. In a one-game elimination anything can happen, the best team doesn't always win.
We have to go to their place and play during the day which we haven't done but maybe once or twice all year. That should be a little bit to their advantage but we hope to play well."
Friday, May 10
East Rutherford (14-5) vs. South Iredell (9-12) 5:30 p.m.
R-S Central (7-12) vs. Erwin (13-8) 5:30 p.m.
Chase (11-5) at Brevard (18-3) 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 9
East Rutherford (15-9) at Pisgah (11-8), 5 p.m.
Friday, May 10
Thomas Jefferson (12-9) vs. Elkin (9-12), 7 p.m.
R-S Central (13-9) vs. Asheville (11-13), 7 p.m.