LAURINBURG — All five of the Sandhills Athletic Conference teams that advanced to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state playoffs have advanced to the second round.
No. 1 Richmond and No. 8 Jack Britt both earned a first-round bye, but the remaining three teams — No. 16 Hoke, No. 15 Lumberton and No. 14 Purnell Swett — had to win their way in.
The top seeded Lady Raiders will host No. 17 Independence (14-8) in Rockingham on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Lady Patriots play in the Southwestern Conference and finished fourth. Independence beat No. 16 Hough on Wednesday, 12-1 to advance to the second round.
On the East side of the bracket, the No. 8 Lady Buccaneers will host No. 9 Middle Creek after their bye. Middle Creek blanked No. 24 Athens Drive in the first round, 11-0. The Lady Mustangs play in the South Wake Conference where they finished second behind the top seed in the East, Fuquay-Varina. The two will play on Friday at 6 p.m. in Hope Mills.
No. 1 Fuqua-Varina is the team No. 16 Hoke County will compete against on Friday at 7 p.m. The Lady Bucks defeated No. 17 Holly Springs, 6-4 in first-round action.
If Hoke County is able to knock off the Fuqua-Varina and Jack Britt bests Middle Creek it would set up a SAC-8 showdown in the third round. Jack Britt won the two-game series when the teams met during the regular season.
At the bottom of the bracket, No. 15 Lumberton knocked off No. 18 Rolesville, 8-7 courtesy of an eighth inning home run by Madison Canady. The Lady Pirates will see No. 2 South Caldwell in the second round.
On the West side of the bracket, No. 14 Purnell Swett pulled off a 9-4 victory over No. 19 Ardrey Kell in Pembroke on Wednesday. The Lady Rams will head to No. 3 Mooresville tonight to take on the Lady Blue Devils at 7 p.m. Mooresville plays in the I-Meck 4A Conference and shared the regular season title with No. 8 Lake Norman.
4A softball second round pairings
No. 1 Fuquay-Varina (17-1) vs. No. 16 Hoke County (16-8)
No. 8 Jack Britt (18-5) vs. No. 9 Middle Creek (15-4)
No. 5 Leesville Road (12-3) vs. No. 12 Panther Creek (13-7)
No. 4 Hoggard (13-10) vs. No. 13 Laney (16-6)
No. 3 Heritage (16-1) vs. No. 14 Garner (17-3)
No. 6 Overhills (17-5) vs. No. 11 Enloe (16-7)
No. 7 Cary (14-7) vs. No. 10 Wake Forest (11-11)
No. 2 South Central (20-1) vs. No. 15 Lumberton (16-9)
No. 1 Richmond (21-3) vs. No. 17 Independence (14-8)
No. 8 Lake Norman (18-5) vs. No. 9 Butler (18-5)
No. 5 Providence (21-3) vs. No. 12 High Point Central (8-9)
No. 4 Porter Ridge (19-2) vs. No. 13 Hickory Ridge (16-5)
No. 3 Mooresville (20-4) vs. No. 14 Purnell Swett (16-7)
No. 6 Northwest Guilford (17-4) vs. No. 11 Olympic (15-6)
No. 7 Davie (15-9) vs. No. 10 West Forsyth (19-6)
No. 2 South Caldwell (23-2) vs. No. 15 McDowell (16-8)
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]