The best baseball and softball matchups of the week
North Lenoir’s Jamir Jones-Gatling will look to contribute in a pivotal week for the Hawks. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
Let’s just hope these games actually happen.
The initial plan was to do a power poll, but as games continue to either get moved ahead or postponed it’s best to just post some of the most anticipated games of this week (based strictly off this person’s opinion) and the alleged days they’re scheduled. Well, let’s get started:
5. Kinston at Neuse Charter (Thursday)
The Vikings have fallen prey to one of the toughest 2A conferences in the state, where four teams should make it in and two others will have strong cases. Kinston has a chance for revenge outside of the ECC this week, falling to Neuse Charter 11-6 March 19.
4. West Craven at South Lenoir (Thursday)
The Blue Devils are one of those teams with an outside shot toward the postseason, and have two big games to make a statement this week. South Lenoir has Ayden-Grifton on the road Tuesday and this home game with the Eagles is pivotal after West Craven won 13-0 in Vanceboro March 19.
3. Jones Senior at Pamlico County (Tuesday)
The last time the Trojans defeated the Hurricanes was April 22, 2016, coinciding with the team’s last winning season. Jones Senior is 9-6 so far and came close to upending Pamlico on March 15, falling 4-2. These teams are tremendous rivals and the Trojans have to capitalize on the opportunity of snapping a five-game skid to the Hurricanes.
2. North Lenoir at Washington (Tuesday)
The Hawks started ECC play last year 1-2 — including a loss to Washington — before rallying for their fifth straight conference title. The task is tougher after starting 1-3 — including a 5-2 loss to the Pam Pack March 15 — before winning three straight. A victory here brings North Lenoir within a half-game of the Pam Pack and could set the team up nicely because…
1. Ayden-Grifton at Washington (Friday)
This game could ultimately decide the entire conference, as both teams came into this week in control of their own destiny starting 5-1. The Chargers won the first meeting 12-0 on March 19, but the task should be much tougher considering the stakes. The Pam Pack play two other conference games this week (also facing Greene Central Monday), and neither team is looking ahead considering how wild the ECC has been so far.
5. Kinston at South Creek (Thursday)
Similar to baseball, the Vikings haven’t had an easy time in conference due to the level of competition in the ECC. Kinston has a great shot to pick up its first win of the season against a South Creek team from the Coastal Plains Conference starting this week on a 7-game skid.
4. Greene Central at C.B. Aycock (Wednesday)
This will be a great nonconference test for the Rams, who may still be without starters Elexie Sutton and Allison Wade due to injury. The Golden Falcons have faced four opponents of Greene Central, going 4-1 (splitting the season series with Ayden-Grifton).
3. Tarboro at Jones Senior (Friday)
The Trojans are looking to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and defeating the Vikings would give the team tremendous confidence. Tarboro has won all three Coastal Plains Conference meetings between the teams over the past two years, including a 13-3 home win March 19.
2. Ayden-Grifton at Washington (Friday)
If the Chargers lose this one, the Pam Pack can waltz to their second consecutive ECC championship. Granted, Washington came into the week with a two-game advantage, Ayden-Grifton can use this to further legitimize itself as a contender. The Chargers fell 5-1 March 19 to the Pam Pack, but none of this matters without…
1. South Lenoir at Ayden-Grifton (Tuesday)
A rematch which should be nothing short of phenomenal. The Blue Devils lead 7-3 heading into the seventh inning on March 15, but the Chargers tied it up and eventually won 8-7 in 13 innings after a long history of South Lenoir dominance over Ayden-Grifton. Prior to this win, the Chargers were 0-10 against the Blue Devils in the ECC and lost by a combined score of 116-3. Safe to say, South Lenoir will be out for revenge, but the winner also gets sole possession of second place in the ECC.