LAURINBURG — The Sandhills Athletic Conference has one team vying for a Western Regional title and another playing in the Eastern Regional finals.
Richmond and Jack Britt advanced to the regional finals of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A state softball playoffs. The Lady Raiders are the No. 1 seed in the West and the Lady Buccaneers are the No. 8 seed in the East.
In the regional semi-finals, Richmond shut out No. 13 Hickory Ridge behind the pitching of junior Greyson Way who finished with 12 strikeouts and two walks. In the batter’s box, the Lady Raiders stayed hot taking a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the second off a two-run homer by Kayla Hawkins.
Richmond has been dominate so far this postseason, outscoring opponents 36-2 through four rounds of the playoffs. The Lady Raiders have only played three games after earning a first-round bye.
Richmond will play No. 2 South Caldwell (25-2) in the Western Regional finals.
The first game will be played tonight at Richmond, game two will be Thursday at South Caldwell and game three, if necessary, the teams will return to Rockingham on Saturday.
Last season, the Lady Raiders made it to the Final Four but fell in just two games (11-4, 2-1) to eventual state champions North Davidson.
In Eastern regional semi-finals, Jack Britt and No. 4 Hoggard found themselves in a stalemate through five innings neither team able to plate a run. The Lady Vikings broke the tie with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Jack Britt responded with three runs in the top of the sixth to hold on for the 3-2 win to advance to the Eastern Regional finals. Rayven Shepard hit a two-run double to right-centerfield to get the Lady Buccaneers offense the lift it needed.
Freshman Carlie Myrtle went the distance in the circle for Jack Britt.
A one-run victory has been the standard for the Lady Buccaneers the last two rounds beating Hoggard and Fuquay-Varina by a score of 3-2. Jack Britt started the postseason off with an 11-1 win over Middle Creek in five innings before battling in the third round and regional semi-finals.
No. 8 Jack Britt (20-5) used a two-run seventh inning to squeak past the top seed in the East — Fuquay-Varina, 3-2.
The Lady Buccaneers bested No. 9 Middle Creek, 11-1 in five innings before pulling off the one-run upset over Fuquay-Varina, 3-2.
Jack Britt will play No. 2 South Central (23-1) in the Western Regional finals.
The first game will be played tonight in Winterville, game two will be Thursday at Jack Britt and game three, if necessary, the teams will return to South Central on Saturday.
If Jack Britt and Richmond both win their respective regional finals they could face each other in the 4A state championship series, which will be held on June 1-2 at either N.C. State University of UNC Greensboro, locations will be determined after the regional finals.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]