After both reached 1A state championship series last year, teams keep postseason run going in 2A

Some schools can boast either its baseball or softball are on the cusp of East Regional championship berths.

Whiteville baseball and softball point to both. And it's becoming a habit.

Coming off appearances in last year's 1A state championship series where Wolfpack baseball emerged victorious, neither show signs of slowing down despite a bump to 2A and are back in the fourth round.

Another similarity? Both squads face South Granville on Friday.

“It’s been an unreal experience with both teams playing for state championships and on basically the same journey the last few years,” said baseball coach Brett Harwood. “It just brings more excitement for our school and community, and we always are checking on the score of the girls during our games. We pull hard for them.”

At 24-1, Whiteville baseball has consistently mercy-ruled teams. Its lone defeat came to fellow state title contender and 3A New Hanover in the season's opening week. The Wolfpack has allowed more than two runs on just three occasions.

Softball has taken a somewhat different approach with winning results. Boasting a 23-3 overall record and 18-0 in Three Rivers Conference play, Wolfpack coach Olivia Scott stacked her team’s non-conference schedule with 3A and 4A powerhouses.

That's helped her team shift into a higher gear.

“They knew that it was put up or shut up time,” she said. “We knew going into the playoffs that the first four rounds are one-and-done, and they knew they would have to put their best foot forward. Their attitude has definitely improved and they are sticking together.”

The Wolfpack teams will face two very different versions of South Granville. The baseball Vikings, seeded fourth, are coming off a 12-2 win against Providence Grove on Tuesday and are typically atop the state's best in 2A.

Brooks Baldwin (9-0, 0.52 ERA, 84 strikeouts) will start for No. 1 Whiteville.

“We’re definitely excited – any year that you can get this deep in the playoffs is exciting,” said Harwood. “South Granville’s very good and we’re going to have our hands full, for sure.”

In softball, the Wolfpack also face one of its biggest tests in the East's top seed. The undefeated Vikings (22-0) have held nine of their last 13 opponents scoreless and scored 169 runs in the stretch.

Despite the competition, the Wolfpack is prepared.

“South Granville would definitely rank among the highest of teams we’ve played this year,” Scott said. “We’ve definitely got to change our mindset and ready to make game time adjustments at the plate."