County teams await post-season fate

Published 5:10 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

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State baseball and softball tournament seeds will be announced Monday and all three county schools could be represented in both. 32 teams from the East and West make up the brackets and first round games are scheduled to start Tuesday.

The Washington girls are the defending 2A East softball champions and are in line for a high seed. The Pack won the Eastern Plains Conference with a 12-0 record and their 16-5 overall slate included zero losses to fellow 2A schools and a win over 4A and defending champ D.H. Conley.

“We’ll take as many home games as they will give us,” WHS coach Brad Horton said. “We faced pitching during our non-conference schedule that we will see from here on and that should help us. We struggled to hit earlier, but are swinging the bats much better now. We are excited to get started.”

Sophomore Emma Harris (.435) and senior Ava Mizell (.422) lead the Pack offense, while sophomore left-hander Emma Orr struck out 151 batters in 93.1 innings with an 0.75 ERA.

Northside is in line for a high seed after a 17-3, 9-1 season. Junior Bella Boykin is the Panthers leading hitter with a .509 average, six home runs and an 0.93 ERA. She’s fanned 97 batters in 60 innings.

Southside is on the playoff bubble after a 2-8 league season and an 8-11 overall record.

Sophomore Lily McLean finished second in the conference with a .569 average, while senior Logan Dail was fifth at .479.

Northside is in the best spot among county teams on the baseball diamond.

The Panthers won the CPC with a 9-1 league record and finished 17-4 overall.

Senior Carson Clinkscales finished second with a .530 average, while Eli Huynh was third (.444), Brandon Arthur fifth (.424) and Hunter Chrismon sixth (.421). Northside hit .370 as a team.

Southside finished 3-7 in the CPC and is on the tournament bubble with a 9-11 overall mark. Freshman Jackson Harding led the Seahawks with a .379 average.

In 2A, Washington finished with a 9-8 overall record and finished fourth in the EPC at 5-7. Junior Hunter Baldree led the league with 26 RBI and was third with a .455 average.

“We’ve hit the ball much beater since Easter break against the type of pitching we’ll face in the first and second round of the playoffs,” coach Brad Horton said. “We struggled to start the season and it means a lot to be conference champions again. Our team has evolved throughout the season and it’s the first time this group has won one, so it’s a big accomplishment.

Sophomore left-hander Emma allowed one earned run on one hit despite striking out a season-low two batters to get the pitching victory.

“I’m glad they hit the ball because it helps our defense stay sharp,” Horton said. “It also helps Emma realize she doesn’t have to do it all herself.”

Washington ends the regular season at Ayden-Grifton Thursday, state tournament seeds will be released Monday and first round games start Tuesday.