Seahawks, Tigers resume playoffs|Teams gets set for round three

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
The list of area softball teams left in the playoffs keeps on shrinking as Bear Grass, Jamesville and Washington each said goodbye after their postseason efforts fell short in the second round of the NCHSAA state tournament.
Southside and Williamston are now the only two teams left carrying the torch for the area, and both hail from the Four Rivers Conference, which is no doubt one of the top softball conferences in the East bracket.
Despite finishing first and second in that conference, respectively, neither Southside nor Williamston cracked the North Carolina Softball Coaches’ Association’s (NCSCA) top 10 poll at the conclusion of the regular season.
The Seahawks and the Tigers will be out to gain the respect they deserve tomorrow when they each battle teams that have garnered rankings in the District round of the playoffs.
No. 1 East Carteret at No. 1 Southside
In what should no doubt be a tremendous softball game, Southside (18-4), the top seed from the Four Rivers Conference, will host East Carteret (17-4), the No. 1 seed from the Coastal Plains Conference and the eighth ranked team in the state according to the NCSCA poll.
After breezing past North Edgecombe with a 15-2, five-inning win in the first round of the playoffs, the Seahawks edged out Bear Grass (14-9) with a thrilling and controversial 4-0 win on Thursday in the second round.
With the win, freshman sensation Savannah Mumford has now pitched nine straight scoreless innings in the playoffs.
Mumford struck out seven batters and walked none while holding the second-seeded Bears to only three hits in the Seahawks’ last win.
Mumford also dashed around the base paths and scored on a shoulder-first collision at home plate for the game-winning run on a Shakeria Lomax single.
East Carteret comes into Chocowinity fresh off a 12-0, five-inning beatdown over North Hampton-West.
The Mariners are led by Dayvee Daniels, who struck out nine batters and walked none as she tossed her third no-hitter of the season against North Hampton-West.
Daniels was also 3-for-3 with a triple and four RBIs.
No. 2 Pamlico at No. 2 Williamston
When Williamston looks across the diamond and into the visitor’s dugout today it will see a very like-minded team in both skill and spirit.
Both team’s enter today’s matchup with a No. 2 preceding their school names, and both teams made it to the District round of the playoffs by slaying a top seed.
Williamston (16-7, Four Rivers) pulled out a gutsy 5-2 win on the road against Jamesville (18-2), the No. 1 seed from the Tideland Conference, and the sixth-ranked team in the state according to the NCSCA poll.
Pamlico (15-6, Coastal Plains), road the arm of Katie Lachman to a 1-0 victory over Gates County, the No. 1 seed from the Tar Roanoke Conference.
Williamston’s path to the third round of the playoffs has been a bit of a bumpy one, but so far the Tigers have always found a way to cage their opponents.
In its first two playoff games the trend for Williamston has been to build up leads in the early innings, then hold on for dear life in the final two.
So far it has worked, but coach Damon Hayes knows that style of play can not continue, and that consistency on both sides of the ball is the only way his Tigers can continue to advance.
Taking the hill for Williamston will be senior Harris Shepherd, whose performances this season has been a model of consistency.
Shepherd has demonstrated great control throughout the postseason, and while she is not a tremendous strikeout pitcher, does a great job of getting opponents to hit into easy outs.
If the Tigers’ defense can stay steady, they have a good chance of clashing with their Four Rivers Conference rivals Southside in the Sectional round.