LAURINBURG — The Southeastern Conference will be well represented in this year’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A baseball and softball playoffs.
Four conference schools were selected in baseball, and in softball, all six programs earned a bid to participate in postseason play.
Scotland baseball (16-7, 7-3 SEC) which finished as the regular season runner-up in the SEC, earned a No. 18 seed and will travel to Matthews today to play No. 15 Butler at 5 p.m.
Scots softball was one of the the last teams to make the 4A field, earning a No. 32 seed despite finishing the regular season with a losing record. Scotland (8-11, 2-8) will travel to Lexington today at 5 p.m. to take on No. 1-seeded North Davidson.
The quartet of SEC schools selected to the playoff field were Richmond Senior, Pinecrest, Scotland and Purnell Swett.
The Raiders, who captured the regular-season conference championship, earned the highest seed among SEC schools. No. 7 Richmond will host No. 26 Mount Tabor in first-round West Region action. Also in the west, No. 14 Pinecrest will welcome No. 19 Charlotte Catholic to Southern Pines. The Patriots finished tied for third in the SEC standings, but they bolstered their seeding by defeating Purnell Swett 4-3 in last week’s conference tournament championship game. The win knocked Scotland off the No. 2 line, forcing the Scots to travel for their first-round contest instead of hosting it.
The Scots, who have lost back-to-back games after previously winning eight in a row, join the Raiders and Patriots in the West Region and will play Southwestern Conference regular-season runner-up Butler. The Bulldogs, who enter the game with a 19-6 overall record, are playing some of their best baseball of the season having won eight of their last nine contests which includes a 12-10 victory over SWAC champion Independence in the conference tournament title game.
No. 21 Purnell Swett is the only SEC team selected to play in the East Region. The Rams will make the short trip to Fayetteville to battle No. 12 Pine Forest.
The SEC’s six schools to make the playoffs are evenly distributed in the two regions — three in the east and three in the west.
Regular-season and conference tournament champion Richmond is the highest-seeded SEC school, as the Raiders are a No. 6 seed in the West Region. They will host No. 27 Ardrey Kell. Also in the west is No. 11 Pinecrest, which was one inning away from upsetting the Raiders in the SEC tourney title game. The Patriots will play at home vs. No. 22 Independence.
Scotland wraps up the trio of conference schools in the west as a No. 32 seed. Patrick Williams’ squad drew the No. 1-seeded North Davidson Knights, who finished 22-2 overall and a perfect 12-0 in the Central Piedmont standings. The Scots, who will look to embrace the underdog role when they travel to Lexington, have dropped four straight since defeating Cape Fear Valley champion Lee County on April 21.
In the east, Hoke is the top-seeded SEC team in the region at No. 15. They will host regional rival No. 18 South View. No. 25 Lumberton is slated to travel to battle No. 8 East Chapel Hill, and No. 27 Purnell Swett will hit the road to face No. 6 Southern Alamance.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.