One team started its playoff run with perfection, another team displayed some early-inning power and three teams endured season-ending losses as the NC High School Athletic Association baseball and softball playoffs began Tuesday evening.
Erik Rosas and Tyler Johnsey combined for a perfect game on the bump as North Duplin easily handled Northampton County, 23-0, during its NC Class 1A baseball matchup. Luis Olivos slugged a home run in his lone at-bat.
On the softball diamond, North Duplin swatted a pair of first-inning home runs and eliminated North Moore, 13-3.
Sandhills 3A-4A champ Scotland County defeated Southern Wayne, 9-1. The Saints’ baseball team dropped a 2-0 heartbreaker to former Eastern Carolina 3A-4A rival South Central.
Roanoke Rapids handed Spring Creek a shutout loss in 2A softball action.
Rosas and Johnsey combined for seven strikeouts as North Duplin claimed its first opening-round playoff win since 2015.
The mercy-rule triumph sets up a second-round home contest Thursday against Super Six 1A-2A co-champ Falls Lake Academy. Game time is 7 p.m.
“Very happy with my guys,” said ND head coach Colton Chrisman. “We took care of business tonight. We are going to enjoy this for tonight and get back to practice tomorrow. Job’s not done.”
Kyle Smith (three RBI), lead-off man Hunt Pate (two RBI) and Gavin Lee (two RBI) each cranked out two hits. Smith and Lee recently committed to Lenoir Community College.
Catcher Austin Duff (RBI), Wesley Holmes (RBI), Tanner Kornegay (two RBI) and Landen Kelly (two RBI) each logged one hit in the scorebook.
North Duplin pounded out eight extra-base hits and stole 11 bases, including three swipes by Johnsey. The Rebels (17-3 overall) raised their season total to 120 stolen bases.
Reece Outlaw, Kasey Jones and Logan Jones flexed their muscles at the plate against the Mustangs. Each went “yard” for the Rebels, who won their eighth consecutive first-round postseason game.
Their last loss occurred in 2013.
Kasey and Logan, along with Addy Higginbotham, provided three hits apiece. Outlaw batted 2-for-4 and scored three runs. Iala Overton, Sarah Tucker, Starr Jaco and Adashia Bernal each contributed one hit.
Eight of the Rebels’ 15 hits resulted in extra bases.
Jaco emerged as the winning pitcher.
North Duplin (13-5) travels to Mid-Carolina 1A-2A champ Chatham Central either Thursday or Friday. The two schools met in the opening round of the playoffs in 2015, an 8-0 win by the Rebels.
LAURINBURG - Some spectators, particularly those clad in Scotland County colors, counted on an easy win against Southern Wayne.
They got a battle instead.
Gracie Hinson belted a solo home run in the seventh inning as the Saints fell to the Scots. Seniors Allie Lane and Katie Toler each contributed one hit.
“It wasn’t [a short night], we took them farther than they could have ever imagined,” said SW head coach Jamie Williams. “My girls fought to the end and I couldn’t be prouder. I will miss my seniors deeply, but they’ve definitely left their mark on this program.
“I love those girls.”
Senior Anna Summerlin recorded five strikeouts inside the circle.
Fellow senior Layla Rackley has been benched all season with an MCL and ACL tear. She continues to recover as she prepares for collegiate play at Wake Tech in the fall.
The Saints finished the year 9-11.
WINTERVILLE - South Central’s Trace Baker threw a complete-game, one-hitter against Southern Wayne.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder retired 14 Saints on strikeouts and gave up his lone hit to Will Pennington.
Meanwhile, Pennington held the Falcons to two runs (one earned) on two hits and four walks. The senior right-hander had four strikeouts.
Richard Noble provided one inning of two-hit relief.
Southern Wayne concluded the year 13-11.