The pairings for the first round of the Class 3A state baseball and softball playoffs on Friday are set.
Two-time defending state champion and reigning Region 4 champ A.C. Flora (20-3) is the headline entry. Region 5 pennant winner Gilbert (20-2), Camden (14-8) and Airport (10-11) also have rated first-round home games. Flora opens against Chester in District II. Gilbert hosts Lakewood in a District V outing. Camden squares off against Woodruff in District I. Defending Lower State champion Airport starts off against Marlboro County – the team it beat in the district finals a year ago. Chapin (14-7) and first-year River Bluff (13-9) are the other area qualifiers. No. 3 seed Chapin travels to face Clinton in District IV. The first-year Gators meet Union County, the top seed in District II.
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Region champions Gilbert (22-4) and Chapin (22-3) and upstart River Bluff (14-8) are the Midlands qualifiers with home first-round home dates. Gilbert, which has made the elite eight level of the playoff three times in the past four seasons, starts its latest playoff journey against Manning. Chapin and River Bluff host first-round games as No. 2 seeds. Camden, Airport (12-9), A.C. Flora (7-11) and Brookland-Cayce (8-13) open on the road. In the Lower State, Airport travels to face Darlington in District V, and B-C has a tough assignment at Hartsville in District VI.