Five teams in the Mount Olive Tribune readership area are headed to the NC High School Athletic Association baseball and softball playoffs, which begin Tuesday.
Two play at home, while three are on the road.
Carolina 1A champ North Duplin (16-3 overall) drew the No. 6 seed and plays host to Northampton County in baseball. The Rebels’ softball team is the No. 9 seed and will entertain 24th-seeded North Moore (8-9) from the Mid-Carolina 1A-2A Conference.
First pitch is 6 p.m. for both games.
Due to teams having to split gate receipts, fans attending the games will need to enter the softball gate. When they pay for their ticket, they must tell the gate keeper which game they’re attending.
A playoff qualifier last season, North Duplin hasn’t won an opening-round baseball game since 2015.
“This is what we set out to do at the beginning of the year,” said ND shortstop Kyle Smith, who recently committed to Lenoir Community College. “[Colton Chrisman] is a great coach. He knows when to get on you and knows when to lay off of you. If you’ve ever listened to me or any other seniors in a close game, we’re yelling ‘have a little grit.’
“All the young guys take that to heart.”
In 3A baseball, Southern Wayne returns to the postseason for the first time since 2014. The Saints (13-10 overall) are the No. 20 seed and first-round guests of 13th-seeded South Central.
The two schools are former Eastern Carolina 3A-4A foes.
“[Our] goal this year was to get into the playoffs,” said Saints head coach Trae McKee. “With a young team, it will be a great experience. I am very happy we got in…look forward to giving a team our best shot.”
After a two-year absence, the Saints (9-10) open the 3A softball playoffs with a first-round trip to Sandhills 3A-4A champion Scotland County.
“We are excited,” said SW head coach Jamie Williams. “The girls have worked hard all year - given our inconsistent record - they deserve this opportunity.”
Spring Creek earned its first playoff bid since 2016. The 30th-seeded Gators (10-9) travel to third-seeded Roanoke Rapids, co-champion of the Big East 2A-3A Conference.