ROCKINGHAM — After starting their seasons two months ago, the Richmond Senior baseball, softball and soccer teams are prepared to enter the 4A state playoffs.
The soccer team will be the first to dive into postseason competition, when it travels to face Millbrook at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The Wildcats are ranked fifth in the state and earned the No. 2 seed out of the CAP-8. Millbrook has an 18-2 overall record, with its only blemishes against No. 4 Leesville Road, including a 2-1 loss in the conference finals.
“They are comparable to Pinecrest,” Richmond coach Bennie Howard said. “Their girls play year-round I’m sure. They are a quality team and if there’s anything more than an ‘A’ game we will need to bring it.”
Richmond (8-12-2) snagged to No. 4 seed from the Southeastern Conference. The Raiders were knocked out of the SEC tournament by regular season and tournament champions, Pinecrest.
“We are going to practice hard on Monday and then pack up the bus on Tuesday and see what happens,” Howard said.
Wendy Wallace and her softball team were forced to wait to see the results of Thursday’s SEC final to find out if they were going to remain as the conference’s second seed.
After Purnell Swett’s Alexis Locklear hurled a perfect game to knock off Scotland, the Raiders were guaranteed the No. 2 spot and a home game in the first round.
Richmond (15-8) will open the playoffs against Cape Fear on Thursday. The game is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. The Colts are the No. 3 team out of the Mid-South Conference.
“I think we have an excellent chance to go deep in the playoffs,” Wallace said. “Our defense and our pitching has been solid all season and if we hit the ball, we can go deep. That’s been our problem all season. We have been hitting it well recently except for the Scotland game.”
The Fighting Scots ended the Raiders’ bid for a conference tournament title with an 11-0 victory in the semifinals. Wallace said the team has put that result behind them.
“The girls said it didn’t seem like reality that they got beat,” Wallace said. “I agree with that because they weren’t there mentally and I knew that before the game. It was a lesson learned because they need to come out ready to play every game now because it’s one-and-done now.”
Richmond will play one more regular season contest before taking on Cape Fear. The Raiders will travel to face Jack Britt, the second seed out of the Mid-South, at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
While Howard and Wallace knew their opening round opponents by Friday, baseball coach Ricky Young was forced to wait.
After defeating Pinecrest in the semifinals of the SEC tournament, the Raiders won the tiebreaker and earned the league’s No. 2 seed. Their opponent will be the No. 3 team out of the Mid-South, either Jack Britt or South View. The Buccaneers and the Tigers finished tied for third and battled Friday night at South View to break the deadlock.
Richmond’s first round game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Raiders (20-6) faced both teams this season. Richmond battled Jack Britt in a preseason scrimmage at Union Pines and routed South View 12-1 last month.
“We’ve seen both of them this year, so it really doesn’t matter who we play,” Young said. “Playing them again is going to be completely different because it’s the playoffs.”
Young added he gave his team the weekend off following a stretch of three games in four days in the SEC tournament.
Before heading into the playoffs, the Raiders are slated to play host to Union Pines at 7 p.m. Young said if the Vikings advance to the finals of the Cape Fear Valley tournament, then the game will be canceled.
Aumans advance in regionals
FAYETTEVILLE — Alex and Colt Auman, who earned the No. 2 seed in the doubles competition, advanced to today’s semifinals with two victories Friday afternoon at Mazarick Park in Fayetteville.
The Auman brothers downed Kyle Smith and Aaron Turner from West Johnston in the first round 6-1, 6-0. In the second round, the Aumans fought off the team of Patrick Ryder and Reed Gilbert of Laney 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
By reaching the semifinals the Auman brothers qualified for next week’s state tournament at Millbrook Exchange Park in Raleigh.
“They played well,” Richmond coach Paula York said about the Aumans. “They represented Richmond extremely well.”
The duo will return to the courts at 9 a.m. today.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org