Watauga baseball, softball teams out of playoff picture
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga's baseball and softball teams will not play in the state 4-A baseball playoffs this season.
Watauga's baseball team (15-11) won 10 straight games before falling 8-1 to South Caldwell in the semifinals of the Northwestern Conference Tournament. The Pioneers started the season with a 2-9 record, but went on to win 13 of its next 14 games before falling to South Caldwell.
The Pioneers needed to win the conference tournament to at least get an automatic bid. Watauga was still eligible to get a wild-card berth, but did not get one. It's the first time since 2006 that the Pioneers have been shut out of the state playoffs.
NWC champion Alexander Central (20-5), opens at home Friday against Lake Norman, the No. 5 seed from the I-Meck Conference. South Caldwell (14-9) opens the playoffs at Hopewell.
The NWC 3-A teams also open the playoffs this weekend. Hickory (13-10), the NWC's No. 1 seed, hosts Kings Mountain (11-10) on Friday. Fred T. Foard (11-13) plays at East Henderson (12-11).
Watauga's softball team also was not invited to play in the state tournament. The Pioneers finished with a 6-12 record, and lost to Fred T. Foard in the semifinals of the NWC Tournament.
Alexander Central (25-1), ranked No. 1 in the state's 4-A classification, hosts West Mecklenburg (11-9) Friday.
South Caldwell (14-7), which finished higher than Watauga in the regular-season standings, but fell to Watauga 3-2 in the first round of the NWC Tournament, plays at Hough in the first round of the state playoffs.
Foard (20-4) hosts Forestview (8-14) on Friday. Foard is the top-ranked team in 3-A.
St. Stephens (14-7) plays at West Henderson (10-9), while No. 3 seeded Hibriten (14-8) plays at Franklin (13-5).