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Bless the heart of the county commissioners, I think we all will come knocking on your doors when we receive our new...

PLAYOFF PREVIEW: East Finals Game 2

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D.H. Conley's Trinity Nichols, center, yells during a game against Eastern Alamance on May 21, 2019. (Molly Urbina/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, May 23, 2019

D.H. Conley’s baseball and softball teams both fell into a 1-0 hole Tuesday night in the beginning of their respective 3-A East Regional Finals three-game series.

Both teams must fend off elimination in Game Two tonight in hopes of forcing a decisive third game. The winner of the series moves onto the state championship.

BASEBALL

No. 1 New Hanover at No. 2 D.H. Conley (7 p.m.)

N.C. State commit Blake Walston took control for host New Hanover on Tuesday in Wilmington, as the Vikings put just two batters on base, neither of which earned a hit in New Hanover’s 5-0 win. 

Things won’t get any easier tonight, as DHC will face off against Alex Sniffen in Game Two. Sniffen, ranked by PrepsBaseballReport.com as the third overall prospect in North Carolina, holds a pristine 8-0 record this season and an impressive 0.26 ERA. 

Sniffen’s fastball clocks in between 83-87 MPH, a slight decrease from the 92 MPH heaters thrown by Walston Tuesday. Sniffen’s curveball also has plenty of movement, and his changeup registers between 75-78 MPH. 

Sniffen’s opponent will by UNC Greensboro commit Robbie O’Neal, who holds a perfect record of his own at 4-0. O’Neal also holds a 2.65 ERA.

DHC should feel a bit more comfortable tonight in the friendly confines of Hollywood Crossroads, which should also improve the contact throughout the lineup. Errors plagued the Vikings in the series opener, which head coach Jason Mills attributed to his side’s youth. Now that the nerves of opening the regional finals against the defending state champions have worn off, look for Conley to return to the team that shined all season.

PREDICTION: The Vikings pull out a tight one-run win at home, forcing a return to Wilmington for the series finale Saturday in Wilmington.

SOFTBALL

No.1 D.H. Conley at No. 2 Eastern Alamance (7 p.m.)

Conley head coach Wayne Deans praised Eastern Alamance for its late game execution Tuesday night following DHC’s 3-2 extra-innings loss in Greenville, where pitching was the biggest factor. 

With Eagles ace Kenna Raye Dark out for the remainder of the series due to pitch count, the Vikings could gain an advantage in the circle. Deans is likely to throw senior Lexie Vincent in Game Two.  While Wiles has been the go-to option for the Vikings, Vincent has quietly had another strong year. She holds a 6-0 record with a 2.27 ERA. 

Conley popped out on eight of 32 at bats Tuesday, 25 percent of the time. If DHC can level out its swing, that total should fall drastically, creating more base hits and more runners advancing, which has the opportunity to create a whole new ball game should the bats get hot. 

One player who will look to continue her strong performance is freshman second baseman Trinity Nichols, who accounted for one of the two runs Conley scored Tuesday and finished 1-for-2. She also reached base on an error in the fifth inning but was stranded on second.

Nichols seemed comfortable in the box facing UNC commit Dark. If she can continue to lead her team at the plate, she could provide the spark her side needs to even the series.

PREDICTION: Conley forces a winner-take-all game three Friday night at Hollywood Crossroads.

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

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High Schools

June 23, 2019

BETHEL — North Pitt head football coach Greg Watford became the fourth coach of the Panthers in as many years prior to the start of the 2018 season, as the program looked for continuity and stability to begin a top-to-bottom rebuild.

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June 19, 2019

FARMVILLE -- It was a time of celebration at Farmville Central on Tuesday night, as team members from this year's Jaguars' 2-A state champion boys' basketball team received their state championship rings.

FC defeated Forest Hills, 86-71, on March 16 to claim its second title in four seasons.

"This…

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June 17, 2019

Post 39 slugger Caleb Morris' two homeruns, and team high five RBIs, led his team to victory in the final game of the Pitt County American Legion Showcase Sunday night. Post 39 defeated Pleasure Island Post 129, 10-1.

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June 16, 2019

Saturday night saw another edition of one of the top American Legion battles in Eastern North Carolina, as Post 39 hosted Wayne Post 11 in a conference makeup game. Post 11 walked away victorious, 9-4.

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June 16, 2019

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He went 9-1 in 14 appearances, striking out 86 batters in 58.1 innings pitched. He…

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June 16, 2019

The following players were selected to The Daily Reflector’s All-Area baseball team. 

FIRST TEAM

Matthew Matthijs, D.H. Conley: Pitcher of the Year

Grant Charles Jarman, J.H. Rose: Batter of the Year

Cam Jackson, D.H. Conley: Jackson was a solid performer at the top of the Vikings lineup,…

061619-All Area

June 16, 2019

Grant Charles Jarman wrapped up an outstanding high school athletic career this season. After four years of football and baseball Jarman walks away with one final award, The Daily Reflector’s All-Area Batter of the Year. 

“One thing that will stand out to me is the guys last…

061619-Jarman

June 16, 2019

It was yet another successful season for the D.H. Conley baseball team, led by longtime coach Jason Mills.

Mills led DHC to a 26-5 overall record, going 11-1 in the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference. The Vikings season culminated in a trip to the 3-A East Regional Finals, where it lost to…

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June 14, 2019

Athletes from three local schools learned if they received the honor of being named to their sports All-Conference list in the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference. Take a look at who made the cut. 

BASEBALL 

11 players received all conference honors, with D.H. Conley leading the way with…

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June 13, 2019

Another batch of local high school athletes signed letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at the next level.

Chargers duo inks to Louisburg College

After rounding out their careers with their best statistical seasons, Ayden-Grifton baseball players Blake McLawhorn and…

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