ALBEMARLE — There is no shortage of Stanly County representation in this year’s high school baseball and softball state playoffs.
On May 8, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association revealed its state tournament brackets for both baseball and softball, and the teams from West Stanly, North Stanly, South Stanly and Gray Stone all qualified for both tournaments.
A few days before the announcement, two Stanly teams played for a Yadkin Valley Conference tournament championship, but only one emerged with a title.
Hosted in Norwood, the top-seeded South Stanly Bulls’ softball team (22-3, 10-0) pulled out a 7-0 win over the second-seeded Mount Pleasant Tigers (14-8, 7-3). The top-seeded North Stanly Comets’ baseball team (21-2, 10-0), meanwhile, suffered a 2-1 loss to the second-seeded Tigers (10-10, 5-5). The Bulls cruised to their fifth straight conference championship on a hot streak that added up to 64 consecutive wins against YVC opponents.
With the conference tournaments completed, state playoffs are already underway.
The first round took place on May 10, and five of the eight opening-round games for the Stanly teams took place at home. The second round is May 13, and the tournaments culminate on June 3 with the championship games.
On the baseball field, No. 13 Hayesville (10-4, 8-4 Smoky Mountain) lost 3-1 to host No. 20 South Stanly (10-4, 8-4), and No. 12 Christ the King (7-9, 3-7 Catawba Shores) hosted and defeated No. 21 Gray Stone (6-11, 0-10 YVC) 14-1 in the 1A bracket.
In the 2A bracket, No. 2 North Stanly hosted and defeated No. 31 Bunker Hill (12-11, 9-5 Catawba Valley) 10-7, while Rocky River Conference runner-up No. 8 West Stanly (20-6, 13-2) fell to No. 25 Mount Pleasant 3-2 at home.
On the softball field, reigning state champion and No. 1 seed South Stanly hosted and defeated No. 32 Andrews (3-16, 1-11 Smoky Mountain) 15-0 in the 1A bracket. The Bulls were joined by No. 15 Gray Stone, who hosted No. 18 Elkin (11-10, 2-8 Northwest) but lost in an 18-0 shutout.
In the 2A bracket, No. 2 West Stanly hosted and defeated No. 31 Wheatmore (8-12, 2-10 Piedmont Athletic) 13-0, while No. 11 West Davidson (13-11, 12-1 Central Carolina) fell to No. 21 North Stanly (11-8, 4-6 YVC) in a 11-3 road loss.