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Area teams prepared as end of season approaches

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Austin Jones (#6) hits the ball during a game at Ayden-Grifton High School on April 17.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, April 20, 2019

As the end of the regular season nears for area baseball and softball teams coaches and players are still fighting for conference titles and are beginning to see if they will have a chance to compete in the state playoffs. Here is where each school’s baseball and softball programs stand as they enter the final stretch.

Ayden-Grifton

Baseball: The Chargers are locked in a battle with Washington for the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference title. A-G (12-6, 7-2) trails the Pam Pack by just half a game after splitting the season series. The Chargers have the chance to make noise in the postseason if they can continue to play strong defense.

Softball: A-G’s softball squad has struggled in comparison to their recent successes. At 9-7, 5-4 in the conference, the Chargers will look to finish strong and possibly capture one of the higher seeded playoff spots.

D.H. Conley

Baseball: The Vikings (16-2, 10-1) wrapped up the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference title after a 10-0 win over South Central Thursday. DHC swept crosstown rival J.H. Rose and split the season series with New Bern. Conley looks to be a top competitor for a deep run in the postseason.

Softball: The Vikings (16-1, 12-0) wrapped up a 3-A/4-A ECC regular season title, their first since 2015, Thursday after a 7-4 win over rival South Central. DHC swept the two-game season series with the Falcons and will host its annual Lady Vikings Easter Tournament this weekend with the conference tournament just on the horizon.

Farmville Central 

Baseball: Head coach Eddie Loesner’s Jaguars have struggled this season, claiming just a 2-9 overall record, currently 1-7 in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference. The Jaguars postseason chances are slim, and they will look to improve down the stretch and prepare for next season.

Softball: It’s been another strong season for the FC softball program. The Jaguars (9-6, 6-2) hold plenty of senior talent and a strong front half of the lineup. They sit second in the conference standings, one game behind North Johnston. They have the chance to make noise in the postseason if their speed on the base paths can continue. 

Greene Central 

Baseball: At 7-8, 5-6 in the 2-A ECC, the Rams are out of the race for a regular season conference championship. They head into the Easter break on a high note, after defeating South Lenoir, 10-9, in nine innings Wednesday night. A quality win against Ayden-Grifton on May 2 could set them up for a spot in the postseason.

Softball: The Rams (10-4, 7-4) sit one game behind South Lenoir for second place in the conference, though their chances of winning it all have been erased due to Washington’s domination of the 2-A ECC. GC’s record should make them confident in their chances to make the postseason. 

J.H. Rose

Baseball: The Rampants are strong, experienced and fast. Currently third in the 3-A/4-A ECC, Rose (14-5, 9-3) is two games behind conference leader and rival D.H. Conley, but the Rampants trail second-place New Bern by just one game after defeating the Bears, 5-0, Thursday evening. All five of JHR’s losses have come by two runs or less, showing they are a team to be reckoned with and consistently fight until the final out.

Softball: The Rose softball team has shown improvement from season to season. Head coach Kidah Sneed has continued to lead the Rampants to increased win totals, but a strong conference has JHR with a 5-13, 2-9 record. Rose will be a team to watch as it continues to improve.

North Pitt

Baseball: The Panthers baseball team jumped to a strong start, but a tough slate of games that included a tight loss to Beddingfield and back-to-back losses to Nash Central has pushed NP (16-3, 5-3) back to third in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference. The Panthers sit two and half games behind leader North Johnston, and one and half games behind second-place Nash Central.

Softball: Head coach Ingrid Cabaniss is learning how she can help turnaround the Panthers in her first season at the helm. NP (0-15, 0-8) has shown they can produce the runs to be competitive, and the rebuilding process is under way in Bethel. 

South Central

Baseball: The Falcons are working to rebuild in what has been a tough season. SC (4-14, 3-9) has just one senior, outfielder Cole Puckett, on its roster. The group will have eight seniors next season in what looks like will be a big improvement from this season. 

Softball: After falling to Jack Britt in the 4-A East Regional finals last season, the Falcons (16-2, 10-2) have once again proven to be one of the best teams around, making for fun match-ups against conference opponent D.H. Conley. The Falcons’ mix of experience and talented newcomers have made them a lock for the postseason once again. They sit two games behind the Vikings in the 3-A/4-A ECC.  

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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