East Surry, Mount Airy and Surry Central are in action tonight as the state baseball playoffs kick off.
East Surry (18-8) is the top 1A team from the Northwest Conference and gets a home game against Chatham Central, a wild card at 13-13 out of the Yadkin Valley Conference.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association provided seven wild cards for the 1A brackets, four of which had losing records including North Wilkes at 5-19.
South Stokes, the conference tournament champion, was the second NW team at 16-8 and plays at home against Alleghany 8-13, the third seed from the Mountain Valley Conference.
The Bears (9-10) received the third automatic bid from the NW and travel to West Montgomery (16-5), the second seed from the Yadkin Valley.
If the Bears can pull off an upset, the second-round matchup looks easier on paper.
The other game in the Bears’ pod is Central Academy (6-12) hosting North Rowan (10-12). North Rowan is a wild card, so if Mount Airy and North Rowan both win, then the Bears are the higher seed and would get a home date.
In the Cardinals’ four-team pod, the other game is Union Academy (8-14) hosting East Montgomery (14-11), a fourth seed from the Yadkin Valley. As a top seed, the Cardinals would host either of these teams in the second round.
If South Stokes wins, the Sauras would face the winner of West Wilkes (14-10) and Lincoln Charter (11-5). If Lincoln Charter wins, then the Sauras would have a home game.
North Wilkes travels to Cherryville (11-15), the top seed for the Southern Piedmont Conference. Elkin (8-12) hosts Albemarle (9-12).
Surry Central and West Stokes made the playoffs, but North Surry was left out due to the small size of the Northwest’s 2A division.
North Coach Travis Gammons said his team was open to accepting a wild card, but the NCHSAA had told Athletic Director Shane Slate not to expect one.
Only two teams received wild cards and both were on the Eastern side of the state.
Some conferences got up to five teams in like Catawba Valley and Northern Carolina. Swansboro (12-9) received a wild card, giving the East Central Conference six teams in the Eastern side of the playoffs (out of only eight teams in the league).
Not only did the NW get just two teams in, but those teams have some tough matchups in the first two rounds.
Surry Central (13-13) goes on the road to face Wheatmore (12-13), the second seed from the PAC-6 Conference.
If they win, the Eagles would face the winner of West Davidson (17-9) and Forest Hills (14-10).
West Stokes (20-3) hosts Bandys (16-7). If they win, the Wildcats would face the winner of Wilkes Central (23-3) and Carver (12-10).
Due to the conference seeding priorities (which are determined before the school year starts), a team like Salisbury (9-17) gets a home date, while the Eagles go on the road.
Also, with split conferences, North Henderson (12-11) gets the top seed for the Western NC and hosts a game.
Reach Jeff Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1920.