Cary News

Playoff preview: soccer, baseball and softball

UPDATE: correct match-ups now shown below.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association baseball and softball state playoffs are set to begin Friday, while the girls’ soccer playoffs kicked off either Tuesday night or Wednesday.

The brackets for all three sports use a slotted system that uses conference finish to put together match-ups. The Tri-Nine Conference wrapped up its seasons in all three sports last week, with the Green Hope baseball and girls’ soccer teams winning outright titles as well as Holly Springs softball.

The second round of the soccer playoffs will be played Friday or Saturday, depending on what the two schools involved agree to.

The Tri-Nine is one of the few local conferences that finishes its regular season in baseball and softball a few days early, which allows teams an open date for tiebreaking games. Many other local conferences schedule regular-season or conference tournament games as late as Tuesday, which means not all first-round match-ups were known at press time.

Baseball: Tri-Nine champ Green Hope will host Northern Durham and Fuquay-Varina will visit Durham Riverside.

Apex plays at either Durham Jordan, which finished runner-up in the PAC-6 Conference. Middle Creek will host Sanderson.

Defending 4A champ Holly Springs, which defeated Lee County in the season finale to clinch its return to the playoffs, will visit Wakefield.

Softball: Only two playoff match-ups were set immediately after all Tri-Nine teams finished the regular season. Apex will host Heritage, while Lee County will travel to Wake Forest-Rolesville.

Holly Springs will host Northern Durham, and Middle Creek travels to East Chapel Hill.

Fuquay-Varina will play at Riverside.

Green Hope, which is 12-12 overall, is a likely candidate for a wild-card spot, given to the team with the best overall record that did not get an automatic berth through its conference.

Soccer: Green Hope, ranked No. 1 in the nation, will begin its quest for a boy-girl soccer sweep of the state championships this week against Northern Durham. A second-round game by the Falcons would have to be played Friday, as the school’s stadium will be hosting the 4A Mideast regional track and field championships Saturday.

Cary will host Wakefield, Apex will travel to Riverside, Holly Springs will play at Jordan and Panther Creek will venture to two-time defending champ Leesville Road.

Fuquay-Varina, which received a wild-card spot, will visit Fayetteville Terry Sanford.