With one exception, Thursday was the opening game of the baseball and softball N.C. High School Athletic Association East final best-of-three series. The greater Triangle has teams in six of the eight East regional finals, but five took losses on Thursday.
South Granville and Eastern Randolph softball will play Game 1 on Friday.
Holly Springs fell 2-0 in Game 1 down in Wilmington against New Hanover.
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The Wildcats got 5 2/3 innings from starter Caleb Bishop before Brayden Barry got the save. It’s New Hanover’s fourth shutout in five playoff games – including wins over Fuquay-Varina and Middle Creek.
Holly Springs starter Camden Munise struck out nine and allowed just five hits in a complete game.
A two-out double down from Jonathan Manis put New Hanover ahead 1-0 in the second inning. Max Hildreth drove in Kyle Smith with a groundout in the third to finish the scoring.
"That's two really good starting pitchers," Holly Springs coach Rod Whitesell said. "We had some good at-bats and he just kept fighting and fighting. ... I didn't think we played very well and we lost 2-0. We've got to be able to score some runs if we want to stay in this series."
The Golden Hawks (23-6) will host Game 2 Friday at 7 p.m., hoping to stave off elimination. Matt Willadsen will get the start for Holly Springs, going against New Hanover lefty Blake Walston, who has allowed just four hits in these playoffs. If Holly Springs evens the series, Game 3 will be Saturday at 7 p.m. at New Hanover (24-3).
South Granville has reached two straight state championships, but will have to rally to do it a third time. The Vikings lost 3-1 to Edenton Holmes in Game 1.
In a rematch of last year’s East final, Holmes scored first, then South Granville pushed another across to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh. Two runs by Holmes in the top of the eighth were the winning runs.
The northern part of the Triangle got even more rain Thursday afternoon, which pushed a 7 p.m. start back to 8:15 p.m.
The teams will meet again in Edenton at 6 p.m. Friday. If a Game 3 is necessary, South Granville will host Saturday 6 p.m.
Rosewood fell just short to Whiteville, losing 6-5 at home. The Eagles led 5-3 going into the top of the sixth, but three errors led to three Wolfpack runs, and now Whiteville can close out Rosewood at home on Friday.
Derek Neal homered for Rosewood in the loss.
In Friday’s Game 2, Whiteville will be starting Mackenzie Gore, a projected top-10 pick in next month’s MLB Draft.
Orange gave up five unanswered runs to fall in Game 1 at West Brunswick, 8-5.
Freshman Jaden Hurdle hit a three-run homer to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the fourth, but the Trojans scored three in the bottom
Orange will host Game 2 at 5 p.m. with Game 3 to follow if the Panthers (22-3) can even the series.
"We just had some things that just didn't go our way," Orange coach Eddie Davidson said. "We had some mental mistakes. We got behind but we got back into it. Later, we got runners into position to score but we didn't get them in."
Orange managed to load the bases in the top of the seventh but the Panthers failed to score.
"We had the opportunities to win but they didn't make the mistakes and we did," Davidson said. "We've just got to regroup and come back ready to play."
Another day of delays means the 2A East final series needs a change in schedule.
Game 1 is now Friday at Eastern Randolph.
South Granville, hoping to win its third straight state title, will host Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3 Saturday will be at South Granville at times to be determined.
Louisburg had to switch its home game to a road one to allow the Warriors’ home field to dry out. The result means Louisburg will be playing for its life at home on Friday, after falling 9-5 at Whiteville.
Louisburg fell behind 7-0 through the first two innings before scoring five in the top of the third to make it close the rest of the way.
Should Louisburg win, it will also host Game 3 on Saturday.