There are plenty of options for Midlands baseball and softball fans on Monday as the state playoffs roll on in the Elite Eight phase.
In Class 4A baseball, top-ranked Lexington (22-4) hosts Region 5 rival South Aiken (19-9) in the Lower State semifinals. Lexington whipped Beaufort 8-0 in the LS opener on Saturday, while No. 10 South Aiken defeated Sumter, 6-1.
The Wildcats beat the Thoroughbreds two times in the span of seven days on the way to posting a 10-0 record and winning the region pennant. Josh Reagan allowed two runs in the bottom of the first inning of the first meeting on April 2, but blanked the T-Breds the rest of the way in a 6-2 win. Reagan came back to start again against SA on April 9, going five strong innings to earn the mound decision in Lexington’s 3-2 win.
In 3A baseball, Airport (23-3) and Brookland-Cayce (16-8) both open the Lower State tournament. The third-ranked Eagles host Socastee after going 3-0 on their way to the District 5 championship. B-C also went 3-0 to win the District 7 title, but did it the hard way – beating Hilton Head and St. James on the road, before downing St. James 3-1 at home to close out its surprising district triumph. The Bearcats, after all, was the No. 3 playoff seed out of Region 5 behind Airport and Gilbert.
Defending 3A state champion A.C. Flora saw its 10-game postseason winning streak come to an end, but the Falcons (21-6) rebounded from a first-game loss to Emerald on Friday to nail down the District 4 title with an 8-0 win in the nightcap. ACF drive to repeat continues tonight on the road against District 1 champ Eastside. The Falcons are an Elite Eight team for the 10th time since 2001 under coach Andy Hallett.
Gilbert and White Knoll are the only Midlands softball teams still active.
Gilbert (19-10) opens the Class 3A Lower State tournament at home against Darlington. The surging Indians, who have won 10 in a row since going 1-4 at the Aiken Triple Crown tournament during spring break, whipped Georgetown 10-0 Friday to conclude a 3-0 run to the District 5 championship and advance to the Elite Eight for the fourth time in the past five seasons. This is a little more special than the others because this is Gilbert’s first season at the 3A level.
White Knoll (22-8) looks to keep its season going with a Class 4A Lower State win at Wando. The Timberwolves, who are 5-5 in the last 10 games, dropped a 6-1 decision at home to Bluffton in the LS tournament opener on Saturday.
Blythewood (24-5) opened the Class 4A Upper State tournament with a solid 5-1 win at Mauldin on Saturday, but must wait to find out its semifinal opponent on Tuesday. The Bengals will play at either Wade Hampton or Dorman, depending on the outcome of Monday’s rescheduled first-round game.