The Baseball and Softball Games to Watch This Week
Ayden-Grifton’s Conner Allen will look to help the Chargers have a strong week. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy / Neuse News
Many teams are heading into the Easter Break with plenty at stake.
As the end of the regular season rapidly approaches, every game matters and these next three days will have serious implications for conference supremacy and playoff seeding. As a result, let’s take a look at the five biggest baseball and softball games of the week.
5. Bunn at North Lenoir (Tuesday)
This game means nothing for the Eastern Carolina Conference standings, but the Hawks would love to get a signature win against a possible playoff opponent. The Wildcats are ranked 14th in the NCHSAA 2A division according to Maxpreps (with North Lenoir slated as ninth).
4. Greene Central at West Craven (Tuesday)
The Eagles still have an outside shot at the conference title, sitting 1.5 games behind Washington heading into this week. The Rams won’t be rattled, having won the first meeting between the teams 8-7 in extras March 22 after trailing 7-1 heading into the bottom of the third.
3. South Lenoir at Greene Central (Wednesday)
It was a slugfest the last time these teams faced each other and the Blue Devils’ 5-run rally in the seventh wasn’t enough in a 12-11 decision. Both teams need this win to strengthen a case for the postseason and will come into this game having played tough opponents a day prior.
2. Washington at South Lenoir (Tuesday)
The Pam Pack controls their destiny for an ECC crown at 7-2, .5 games ahead of Ayden-Grifton and 1 game in front of North Lenoir (we’ll get to those teams momentarily). If Washington can win this game, a home contest with Kinston April 30 and a road game with West Craven May 3, the conference is clinched outright. The Blue Devils won’t lie down and it took a Pam Pack walkoff to win the first meeting 5-4 March 22.
1. Ayden-Grifton at North Lenoir (Thursday)
This is almost an elimination game for conference contention being played at The Swamp and will be our Tull Hill Farms Game of the Week. As both teams are chasing Washington and looking for some help, the winner here is in much better shape. Ayden-Grifton defeated North Lenoir 4-2 in the first meeting March 26, but the Hawks have been surging, winning their last six games coming into the week and allowing two runs or fewer in the past five.
5. North Lenoir at C.B. Aycock (Wednesday)
The Hawks have made tremendous strides from last year’s one-win team to pick up five so far, and while this game means nothing for the ECC, it’s a way for North Lenoir to continue progressing. The Golden Falcons certainly aren’t pushovers though (10-7, 7-4 Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference).
4. Chocowinity Southside at Jones Senior (Tuesday)
The Trojans trailed 11-6 heading into the sixth inning in the first meeting with the Seahawks, but rally to a 14-13 victory. As both teams lobby for fifth place in a tough Coastal Plains Conference, this is all but a must-win, especially with the playoffs a few games away.
3. Ayden-Grifton at North Lenoir (Thursday)
In the first meeting between these teams, the Hawks’ three-run rally in the seventh wasn’t enough as the Chargers won 8-7. Ayden-Grifton comes into this week on a four-game skid, but two losses were by one run and a third was to South Lenoir in extras.
2. South Lenoir at Greene Central (Wednesday)
The Blue Devils have won the last four meetings between the teams, including a walkoff in a 6-5 game March 27 where the Rams held a 5-2 advantage headed into the bottom of the sixth. Greene Central is hoping to secure its first win over South Lenoir since a 6-5 win on April 4, 2017 and will host a Blue Devils’ team that would’ve played an emotional contest one day prior.
1. Washington at South Lenoir (Tuesday)
Not only is this Senior Night for a trio of standouts for the Blue Devils, the Eastern Carolina Conference race could essentially be over with a Pam Pack victory. Washington has a two-game lead on South Lenoir with three games to play and the Blue Devils lost the first meeting 3-0 on March 22. These teams have played each other tremendously since Washington’s entrance into the ECC, and South Lenoir would love nothing more than to get the win against a team it hasn’t beaten in three matches — the games last year with 11 and eight innings.