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Four softball teams, one baseball squad still eyeing state title

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
And then there were five.
Four area softball teams and one baseball team are still alive in the state high school playoffs. Those teams will look to advance as playoff action resumes with second-round softball games and third-round baseball contests.
Baseball
The Northside Panthers are the lone area team still alive in the baseball playoffs. They’ll face the top-ranked Manteo Redskins, which advanced to the fourth round in last year’s state playoffs, in Friday’s district action.
Coach Addison Bass has led his team to victories over Northampton-East and Gates County in the first two rounds of the NCHSAA Class 1-A state playoffs.
The Panthers (12-10), the second seed from the Atlantic Conference, posted an 18-2 win over Northampton-East on the road in the first round. Northside followed that up with a 9-1 drubbing of Gates County at home in second-round action.
Manteo (24-2), the top seed from the Albemarle Conference, took a 10-0 win over North Duplin and an 11-5 nod over Dixon in the first two rounds.
The Panthers and Redskins are no strangers to each other. Manteo took a 15-5 win over Northside, scoring nine runs in the third inning to help erase a 5-1 deficit, at home. The Redskins also took a 12-0 win over the Panthers at Northside.
Friday’s winner will face the survivor between Louisburg (20-4), the top seed from the Tar Roanoke Conference, and Camden (17-8), the second seed from the Albemarle Conference, in sectional round action on Tuesday.
Softball
Williamston, Southside, Jamesville and Columbia are the lone area teams still standing in the state softball playoffs, all hailing from the NCHSAA Class 1-A ranks.
Coach Richie Ange’s Jamesville Bullets (15-1), which advanced to the Final Four last year, opened tournament play at home with a 20-0 pummeling of North Edgecombe. Jamesville, the Tideland Conference champions, will play host to the Gates County Red Barons (17-6) in today’s second-round action at 4:30 p.m. Gates County, the second seed from the Albemarle Conference, advanced with a 10-0 blanking of Bear Grass.
The survivor will face the winner between Columbia (11-5) and Louisburg (17-6) in Tuesday’s third-round action. The Columbia Wildcats, the second seed from the Tideland Conference, grabbed a 3-0 win over Northside in the first round. The Louisburg Warriors, the top seed from the Tar Roanoke Conference, took a 7-3 win over Cape Hatteras in the first round.
Familiar foes Williamston and Southside will square off in second-round action Friday at 4 p.m. in Williamston. The Williamston Tigers are the top seed and the Southside Seahawks are the second seed from the Atlantic Conference.
Coach Damon Hayes (15-9) led Williamston to a 2-1 win at home over Camden in the first round.
Southside coach John Lohman guided the Seahawks (14-5) to a 15-0 shellacking of Northampton-East on the road in the first round.
The winner will face the survivor between Manteo (20-5), the top seed from the Albemarle Conference, and Pamlico (9-8), the second seed from the Coastal Plains Conference, in Tuesday’s third-round district play.
Friday’s Games
Baseball
NCHSAA Class 1-A State Playoffs
7 p.m. – Northside at Manteo
Softball
NCHSAA Class 1-A State Playoffs
Thursday
4:30 p.m. – Gates County at Jamesville
Friday
4 p.m. – Southside at Williamston
7 p.m. – Columbia at Louisburg