Addyson Ikard drove in four runs on Tuesday night, leading top-seeded Maiden High’s 12-2 home win over fourth-seeded West Lincoln and into the title game of the South Fork 2A softball tournament.
The Blue Devils (18-2) will be at home Thursday at 7 p.m. to play second-seeded North Lincoln (15-4) for the tournament title.
Caitlyn Wray and Laura Morgan each added two hits and Emma Lay drove in two runs for Maiden, which got the No. 1 conference tournament seed by sweeping North Lincoln in the regular season.
West Lincoln (14-9) beat No. 5 seed Bandys 8-3 in the first game on Tuesday at Maiden before battling the Blue Devils.
North Lincoln advanced to the final by winning 6-5 at home over third-seeded East Lincoln, after the Mustangs advanced to the second round by beating sixth-seeded Newton-Conover 20-7.
Maiden and North Lincoln own the two automatic state playoff bids for the South Fork 2A.
The Blue Devils will reach the postseason for the third straight season. They have been eliminated by the second round each of the previous two years and will make their 17th appearance in the postseason since 1984.
Maiden has advanced past the second round once, falling in the third round in 2004 to North Lincoln.
Bunker Hill 9, Patton 1
Playing at home, the third-seeded Bears (10-6) ousted the sixth-seeded Panthers in the first round of the Northwestern Foothills 2A tournament.
Payton Bryant gave up four hits and one run, walked three and struck out eight for the Bears, who led 2-0 after one inning, 5-0 through two innings and 9-0 by the third inning.
Bunker Hill faces No. 7 East Burke, a 1-0 winner at No. 2 Draughn on Tuesday, in a semifinal on Thursday at West Iredell (4:30 p.m.).
The Bears are in the running for a state 2A playoff bid. They’ve made the postseason every year since 2011 and have 13 state playoff appearances since 1984, the year they made their deepest postseason run (third round, lost to Franklin).
Alexander Central 3, McDowell 2, 8 inn.
The second-seeded Cougars (20-4) earned a shot at the Northwestern 3A-4A tournament title with a home semifinal victory over the third-seeded Titans (15-7).
Chesney Millsaps (20-4) threw a complete game, allowing six hits, two runs (both earned) with one walk and three strikeouts for Alexander Central.
The Cougars face top-seeded South Caldwell (22-2) – a 10-0 semifinal winner at Alexander Central on Tuesday afternoon – in the final, Thursday at 6 p.m. in Taylorsville.
Millsaps had two of the Cougars’ six hits and Ashley Seagle had the Cougars’ only RBI.
Kat Carroll led McDowell, which had six hits, with two.
Lea Conner took the loss for the Titans, going 7 2/3 innings. She gave up six hits, three runs (one earned) with one walk and four strikeouts.
McDowell scored twice in the first inning and was ahead 2-1 through one inning. The Cougars tied it at 2 in with a run in the third inning.
Alexander Central will go to the state playoffs as the No. 2 3A seed from the conference, and it will be the Cougars’ 35th appearance since 1984. Their streak of consecutive bids is now 14 and they have failed to reach the playoffs only once (2003) since 1984.
The Cougars have also won at least one postseason game every year since 2009 and they’ve been knocked out in the first round only twice (by Starmount 1984, by McDowell 2008).
Bandys 9, Lake Norman Charter 1
T.J. Rasar drove in runs with a double and solo home run as host Bandys (20-3) won a South Fork 2A tournament semifinal and reached 20 wins for the first time since 1994.
The second-seeded Trojans advance to face top-seeded North Lincoln (21-2) for the tournament title on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Legion Fairgrounds in Newton.
Bandys and North Lincoln split regular season games, each winning at home (Bandys 6-5; North Lincoln 6-2).
Andrew Patrick picked up a win for Bandys after pitching six innings, allowing one hit, no earned runs and striking out 10.
The Trojans led 3-0 early via a run-scoring single by Patrick and back-to-back doubles by Mac Beam and Rasar that each scored a run.
Jared Crowe’s single in the second inning pushed Bandys ahead 4-0. A run-scoring single by Patrick and Crowe drawing a walk with the bases full extended the Trojans’ lead ot 6-0.
Rasar hit his solo home run in the fourth inning.
The Knights (10-13) did not have a hit until the fifth inning when Evan Borcich beat out an infield single after Landon Carlton had walked. Carlton later scored on an error.
Bandys’ lead grew to 9-1 via an RBI single by Beam and Crowe scoring on an error.
The Trojans will go to the postseason as the league’s No. 2 seed, 19th postseason bid since 1984 but first since 2013.
Bandys hasn’t advanced past the second round since 2003 — when it lost at East Rutherford in the third round after beating West Wilkes and West Henderson – and the Trojans’ last postseason win came in 2013, a 1-0 victory in nine innings over North Lincoln.
Lake Norman Charter 10, Lincolnton 2
At Bandys, the Knights’ Borcich went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs to highlight a first-round victory in the South Fork 2A tournament.
Michael Clark had two hits and scored twice, Max Doherty was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Alex Lonergan had two hits and drove in two runs and Michael Ashford added two hits for Lake Norman Charter, which has split in the regular season with the Wolves (11-8).
South Caldwell 15, West Caldwell 4, 4 inn.
The top-seeded Spartans (21-2) had three players drive in at least two runs as they rolled past the eighth-seeded Warriors (3-20) in Hudson in a first-round game of the Northwestern 3A-4A tournament.
South Caldwell advances to face No. 5 Freedom (13-11) in a semifinal on Thursday at 7 p.m. at M.S. Deal Stadium in Granite Falls.
Curtis Massagee went 4-for-4 and drove in two runs, Jackson Brown drove in two runs, Austin Blevins was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Ian Moretz added two hits and drove in three runs for South Caldwell.
The Spartans had 13 hits and the Warriors had seven.
Leadoff hitter Jordan Bowman led West Caldwell with two hits.
South Caldwell scored 11 runs in the first inning, knocking Warriors starter Bailey O’Brien out after he got only two outs. He gave up five hits, eight runs (all earned) and walked two.
Issac Bush went 2 2/3 innings and picked up a win for the Spartans. He gave up six hits, four runs (three earned) with one walk and five strikeouts.
South Caldwell survived making four errors.
The Spartans own the No. 1 4A seed into the state playoffs from the conference. South Caldwell has reached the postseason brackets every year since 1984 (34 years).
South Caldwell got to the second round last season, ending a three-year stretch of having lost in the first round, and the last Spartans’ state title was in 2007 (4A).
Freedom 9, Hickory 2
Lyle Holland threw a complete game and had two hits, leading visiting Freedom past the Red Tornadoes in a first-round Northwestern 3A-4A tournament game.
The fifth-seeded Patriots (13-11) battle top-seeded South Caldwell (21-2) in a semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at M.S. Deal Stadium in Granite Falls.
South Caldwell advanced with a Tuesday home first-round win over West Caldwell, 15-4.
Freedom limited the fourth-seeded Red Tornadoes to five hits.
Holland, Marcus Logan, Tyler Delay and Hunter Smith each had two hits for Freedom, which grabbed a lead in the first inning.
Logan had a hit, Smith had a ground ball out and Brandon Pieto’s bunt also scored a run to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead.
Holland walked one and struck out six.
Hickory (12-9) is still in line for the league’s third bid into the state 3A playoffs, if it meets all of the criteria, which now also includes state rankings by MaxPreps.
Freedom is also hopeful of getting into the postseason.
Also in play, since a lower-seeded team that wins a conference tournament gets a playoff bid, is No. 6 McDowell (11-13), which downed third-seeded St. Stephens 3-2 on the road Tuesday in another first-round game.
If Hickory gets in, it would be the Red Tornadoes’ second straight trip to the postseason and 21st since 1984.
Hickory has not won a postseason game since reaching the West 3A Regional title series in 2013 against Weddington and winning Game 1 of that best-of-3 series.
Freedom last reached the state playoffs in 2016 – its sixth bid since 1984 – and the Patriots haven’t advanced in the postseason since 1994 when they got to the state semifinals, when it was single elimination (Scotland County 9, Freedom 1), by beating South Rowan, North Mecklenburg and East Gaston.
McDowell 3, St. Stephens 2
The sixth-seeded Titans (11-13) won on the road, beating the third-seeded Indians (12-9) behind two run-scoring hits by Kell Smith in a first-round game of the Northwestern 3A-4A tournament.
McDowell gained an early lead via a bases-loaded walk drawn by Brycen Seymore and extended its lead when Smith singled for an RBI in the fourth inning.
St. Stephens tied it at 2 in the fifth inning on J.D. Everett’s two-run double before Smith singled in a Titans run in the sixth inning.
The teams combined to leave 23 runners on base (St. Stephens nine, McDowell 14).
McDowell and St. Stephens had split in the regular season with each winning at home.
The Indians have secured the league’s second automatic bid into the state 3A playoffs, behind Alexander Central. They are advancing to the postseason for the 18th time since 1984 but first since 2016.
St. Stephens hasn’t been past the first round since a first-round victory over Winston-Salem Reagan in 2008.
Alexander Central 4, Watauga 3
The second-seeded Cougars (18-7) used four pitchers and were helped by three errors by the seventh-seeded Pioneers (5-16) in a first-round Northwestern 3A-4A game in Taylorsville.
Watauga outhit Alexander Central 8-6, getting a 3-for-3 game by Travis Hamrick and two hits each from Andrew Dye and Alex Dye and two RBIs by Jonathan McClannon.
Leadoff hitter Bryon Younts led the Cougars with two of their six hits and Josh Lafone and Justin Cook drove in runs.
McClannon took the loss, going six innings. He gave up six hitsk, four runs (three earned), walked one and struck out three.
Reliever Nate Moretz got the win for Alexander Central after pitching two innings in relief. Starter Zach Hammer went two-thirds of an inning for the Cougars, Cook pitched 2 1/3 and Dawson Elder pitched two.
Alexander Central scored in the first inning and was down 2-1 after the Pioneers scored twice in the second inning.
The Cougars scored in the fifth inning for a 2-all tie, and Watauga scored once in the sixth inning to go up 3-2.
Alexander Central won with a two-run sixth inning, then got the Pioneers out in the top of the seventh inning to beat them for the third time this season.
The Cougars will go into the postseason (3A) as the conference’s No. 1 seed, making their third straight appearance and 25th since 1984 (they had a 26th but were disqualified in 2003 for exceeding the state limit for ejections in a season).