Pikeville Aycock will try to win N.C. High School Athletic Association baseball and softball championships this weekend.
The Falcons (21-9) play Matthews Weddington (26-6) in a best of three baseball series that begins Friday night at 5 p.m., at the Carolina Mudcats’ Five County Stadium in Zebulon. The Aycock softball team (29-2) faces Newton Ford (25-4) at 8 p.m., at Raleigh’s Walnut Creek softball complex.
The Aycock baseball team was 10-7 midway through the season and advanced to he playoffs as the No. 4 seed from the Eastern Carolina Conference. Pitcher Collin Dubose is 6-0 with a 0.69 earned run average. He is likely to go against Weddington’s Alex Bostic, who is 10-0 with a 0.98 ERA.
The Aycock girls have been outstanding all season and are appearing in their eighth championship series in the past 13 years. The Falcons’ Meredith Burroughs is one of the top hitters in the state with a .525 average, 17 home runs and 42 RBI.
Foard is led by Lexi Shubert, who is 25-4 with an 0.28 ERA and 358 strikeouts.
Pirates coaching change: Durham Riverside High assistant boys basketball coach Brian Strickland has been named as head coach, succeeding Tim Ross, who resigned to become the athletic director at new Durham Lucas Middle School.
Strickland played for Ross at Riverside in 1996 through 2000 and has been an assistant coach at the school for the past seven years. Strickland, a UNC-Greensboro graduate, is one of three basketball assistants at the school who played for Ross.
“I think having so many former players around is a good indication of the family atmosphere that Coach Ross built,” Strickland said. “He is a coach that expects a lot from his player and when you are young and new as a player it is sometimes hard to understand. But as you mature, you really appreciate what Coach Ross was doing for you.”
Strickland said he is excited by the challenge of being a head coach and is ready to get started. He doesn’t envision a lot of changes.
“It is very exciting, but there is definitely going to be more pressure, challenges and responsibilities,” Strickland said. “But I’m embracing that. We have had a tough time the last couple of seasons, the program is still in good shape. We were winning championships not too long ago.”
Murray wins Rex Junior: Former Leesville Road High golfer Grayson Murray won the Rex Hospital Open Junior Invitational this week for the second time to qualify for the Rex Hospital Open, a Nationwide Tour event at TPC Wakefield Plantation.
Murray, 18, shot a 70-67 to win the junior event by three shots. In 2010, he also qualified for the Rex Open and became the second youngest golfer to ever make the cut in a Nationwide tour event. He finished 55th.
He graduated from Leesville in January and did not play high school golf this spring. He is expected to enroll at Wake Forest in July on the Arnold Palmer scholarship.
"I’m going to try and treat this as I would any tournament," he told the Winston-Salem Journal. "I think the first time I was in it, I was kind of in awe with everything, but I’m feeling good about my game at this point."
Lacrosse champions: Loyola University Maryland, which defeated Maryland 9-3 for the NCAA men’s lacrosse championship, had three former area players on its roster. Sophomore Kyle Duffy of Chapel Hill made the biggest contribution, playing in each of Loyola’s games this season.
Freshmen Devon Lepsch of Holly Springs High and David Manning of Chapel Hill also were on the Loyola varsity.
Northwood girls commit: Pittsboro Northwood’s Brianna Greene and Kerri Snipes have made their college decisions. Greene will play at Averett and Snipes is headed to St. Andrews. The Chargers were 26-4 last season.