LAURINBURG — The North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A baseball and softball playoffs features a distinctive green and yellow backdrop as the second week of postseason action prepares to get underway.
Both of Richmond Senior’s teams remain in the hunt, though the softball squad will take the field today to host fellow conference rival Pinecrest in second-round action. Meanwhile, the baseball team has already jumped its first two hurdles, having advanced to the third round.
Richmond eked out a pair of close wins to get where they are, having beaten No. 26 Mount Tabor 3-2 in the first round before rallying for another 3-2 win against No. 10 East Forsyth in its second-round contest Thursday night. Raiders softball, meanwhile, had little trouble dispatching No. 27 Ardrey Kell 7-2 in the first round.
The same could not be said for the rest of the Southeastern Conference — three of the four baseball teams to qualify for the playoffs have been eliminated, including two that were bounced in the first round, and Richmond and Pinecrest are the only two schools to survive after all six SEC softball programs were invited to the field.
Among the teams eliminated is Scotland, which lost in first-round action in both baseball and softball. Scots baseball, which earned a No. 18 seed, was ousted on Tuesday when they were clipped by No. 15 Butler in Matthews. The host Bulldogs built a 3-0 lead only to see Scotland rally to jump ahead entering the sixth inning, but Butler scored the final two runs, including a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh, to record the 5-4 victory.
Butler has since toppled No. 2 Roberson, winning 13-7 Friday night to advance and meet Richmond in the third round.
Scots softball was one of the final teams invited to the 4A playoffs, earning a No. 32 seed after finishing with a sub-.500 record. They traveled to Lexington Tuesday to play No. 1 North Davidson, and the Knights won 3-0. North Davidson then bested Providence 3-1 Friday to earn the right to compete in third-round action.
Elsewhere in the conference, Pinecrest was the only other baseball team besides Richmond to get out of the first round. The Patriots, a No. 14 seed who captured the SEC tournament crown, beat No. 19 Charlotte Catholic 5-3 in their opening game before falling to No. 3 North Davidson 12-2 Friday.
No. 21 Purnell Swett met the same first-round fate as Scotland as the Rams were crushed by No. 12 Pine Forest 11-4.
In softball, Lumberton and Hoke joined the Raiders and the Patriots in the second round, but both schools saw their championship dreams dashed there. The No. 25 Pirates scored a 7-2 upset victory over No. 8 East Chapel Hill in their opening game before falling 9-1 to No. 9 Apex Friday night. Hoke, which was tabbed as a No. 15 seed, cruised past No. 18 South View 10-0 in first-round action only to be shut out the next time it took the field in a 4-0 defeat to No. 2 Conley on Thursday.
No. 27 Purnell Swett was blanked by No. 6 Southern Alamance in its only playoff game as the Patriots rolled the Rams 6-0.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.