Postseason play for the seven softball teams within the Mideastern Conference gets underway this week.
Topsail cruised to its second consecutive league title with an impressive 11-1 mark in the division. The Pirates’ only hiccup during the regular season was a 9-7 setback against Laney on April 13.
Appalachian State commit Keri White leads the team with a .486 batting average. Shortstop Hunter Bizzell is a solid bat atop the lineup with a .457 average and junior Victoria Elder is hitting .415. White also has a team-high 29 RBI’s, nine doubles and two home runs. Hayley Grizzle is second on the club with 27 runs batted in.
Elder has earned an 8-2 mark on the stripe. She’s been dominant within conference play, with a 1.47 ERA. In 100 innings pitched, the right-hander has 128 strikeouts.
Topsail has a bye in the opening round of the Mideastern Conference Tournament, which begins Monday. They will also have a favorable seed in the upcoming 3A state playoffs after advancing to the East Regional last spring.
Hoggard and Laney have faced off three times already this season, with the Vikings taking two of those games. The most recent victory ended the Bucs’ nine-game winning streak as Hoggard picked up a 5-0 shutout. These two clubs will square off once again in the second round of this week’s conference tournament if they both are able to get wins on Monday.
Morgan Mathis has done it at the plate and in the circle for Hoggard this season. The junior is hitting .333, with a 10-5 record and 1.89 earned run average. Nia Green has a team-high three home runs and 18 RBI’s, while Melissa Marks has four doubles. The Vikings have won eight games in a row heading into this week.
Laney was red hot until running into Hoggard in their regular season finale on April 28. The Bucs finished second in the division standings with a 9-3 record. Paige Cruse has pitched Laney to an impressive 15-6 overall mark.
Savannah Capabianco is hitting.444 for the Bucs, with a team-high seven doubles and 11 RBI’s. Senior Makayla Berry has a team-high .455 average. Laney has a good mix of youth and experience, with senior Kirstie Langley at shortstop. Freshman Tristen Horrell has also seen a ton of action at first base and on the stripe.
Listed below are the opening round games for the Mideastern Conference Tournament, which continues through this week leading up to the state playoffs.
No. 1 Topsail (11-1, 19-3) bye
No. 5 Ashley (5-7, 7-14) at No. 4 West Brunswick (7-5, 13-8)
No. 6 New Hanover (1-11, 5-18) at No. 3 Hoggard (8-4, 18-6)
No. 7 South (1-11, 2-17) at No. 2 Laney (9-3, 15-6)