Union County softball teams played their second-round playoff games a day early Thursday with inclement weather forecasted for Friday.
In the 4A tournament, the No. 3 seed Marvin Ridge softball team defeated Northern Guilford, 5-2, at home Thursday night. The Mavericks benefitted from a four-run fifth inning to take down the Nighthawks.
The Mavericks (18-2) will play the winner of Northwest Guilford and South Caldwell in the third round Tuesday. The last time Marvin Ridge made it this far in the postseason was 2019, when they advanced to the semifinals of the 3A state tournament before falling to Central Cabarrus.
Mooresville 2, Piedmont 1
The No. 13 Piedmont softball team fell to No. 4 Mooresville, 2-1, in extra innings Thursday in the second round of the 4A state playoffs.
Neither team scored until the eighth inning, when the Panthers (19-7) took the lead on an RBI single by senior Scarlet Little, who finished the game 1-for-4. The Blue Devils won the game in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by junior Bentli Meadows.
Piedmont will graduate two seniors this offseason — Little (.388 average, 33 hits, 33 RBI) and senior Jillian Thomas (.413 average, 38 hits, nine RBI; 15-5 record, 1.53 ERA, 161 strikeouts). Thomas will play collegiately at Wingate.
The Panthers’ top returner at the plate next season will be current junior Skye Harrington, who led the team in batting average (.520), hits (39), doubles (17) and RBI (35) this season. On the mound, freshman Jailyn Thomas will return after going 3-2 with a 1.92 ERA and 64 strikeouts across 40.0 innings this season.
Alexander Central 3, Weddington 0
The No. 16 Weddington softball team lost to top-seeded Alexander Central, 3-0, on Thursday in the second round of the 4A tournament.
The Warriors (15-9-1) were limited to three hits in the loss. Weddington players to pick up hits were senior Kelsey Jones, junior Layla Manning and sophomore Bella Lamantia.
Weddington will graduate six seniors this offseason, including Chloe Luzarraga, who was second on the team in batting average (.409), hits (27) and RBI (19).
The Warriors’ top returner at the plate next season will be Madelyn Miller, who hit .430 with 37 hits and 20 RBI as a sophomore this season. On the mound, Morgan Nayle will return for her senior year after going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 118 strikeouts this season.
Hilbriten 8, Parkwood 7
The No. 9 Parkwood softball team lost to No. 8 Hilbriten, 8-7, in the second round of the 3A playoffs Thursday.
The Wolfpack (10-13) gave up three runs in the first inning but managed to tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the fourth. The two team’s exchanged runs until the Panthers took an 8-6 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Parkwood will only graduate three seniors this offseason — Anna Laney, Cassidy Vance and Grace Crocker. Laney led the team this season in batting average (.449), hits (31) and RBI (33) and was also the team’s top pitcher.
The Wolfpack’s top returner at the plate will be Eva Creech, who hit .366 with 26 hits and 11 RBI this season.
Union Academy 9, Eastern Randolph 7The No. 12 Union Academy softball team upset No. 5 Eastern Randolph, 9-7, on the road Thursday night in the second round of the 1A state tournament.
The Cardinals (18-5) have averaged a county-high 9.4 runs per game this season. UA has scored at least 10 runs in a game 12 times this season, including in their 11-0 win over Murphy in the first round of the 1A bracket.
Union Academy will play either No. 4 Mountain Heritage or No. 13 Starmount in the third round Tuesday. If Starmount wins, the Cardinals will play them at home.