Tigers to battle Redskins in softball playoffs
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Having already met twice before this season, with each team winning at home, the Williamston Tigers and Manteo Redskins square off in the third round of the NCHSAA Class 1-A softball state playoffs.
Williamston will play at Manteo in this district round game at 5 p.m. today.
The Tigers are ranked 10th in the most recent N.C. Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association poll, while Manteo received honorable mention.
The Redskins took an 8-1 win at home on March 6. Williamston picked up the victory on April 5, giving Manteo its lone league loss of the season and the first in the past two years.
Coach Damon Hayes guided his Tigers (16-9) to an Atlantic Conference championship.
Williamston opened the playoffs with a 2-1 victory over Camden. The Tigers followed that up with a 5-0 win over Southside in the second round. Both of those victories came at home.
The Tigers, 7-5 in six playoff appearances in fast-pitch play and 22-16 in 17 total playoff appearances that includes slow-pitch action, are into the third round for the first time since 2004.
Coach Walt Davis, who will coach football at South Central next season, guided the Redskins (21-5) to the Albemarle Conference championship.
Manteo opened the tournament with an 11-0 spanking of North Duplin. The Redskins then took a 6-1 victory over North Duplin in the second round.
The Redskins, 8-8 in nine playoff appearances in fast-pitch play and 9-13 in 14 total playoff appearances that includes slow-pitch action, were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round last year.
The winner of this game will face the survivor between Louisburg (18-6), the top seed from the Tar Roanoke Conference, and Gates County (18-6), the second seed from the Albemarle Conference, in sectional action Friday.
If Williamston wins, the Tigers would host Gates County if the Red Barons beat Louisburg. If Williamston wins and Louisburg wins, the Tigers would be on the road.
In other games involving 1-A East teams, defending state champion and top-ranked Pender (23-2) faces East Columbus (12-7), while fifth-ranked East Bladen (18-3) takes on East Carteret (21-3).