By RYAN HERMAN
East Lincoln’s girls soccer team may have kicked off its state playoff run on Tuesday, but the rest of the local qualifying teams begin theirs today.
Three baseball teams, four softball teams and a girls soccer team open their state playoff campaigns, with all but one hosting a first round game.
East Lincoln, Lincoln Charter and North Lincoln will host opening round baseball games today, while Lincoln Charter, North Lincoln and West Lincoln will host opening round softball games.
Lincoln Charter will also host an opening round soccer match today.
All three county baseball teams earned the No. 2 seeds from their respective conferences, giving each a first round home game. East Lincoln (12-13) will host Shelby (13-10) and North Lincoln (11-12-1) will host South Rowan (20-6) tonight at 7. Lincoln Charter (16-7) hosts Hiwassee Dam (8-12) at 5 p.m. today.
Softball teams from Lincoln Charter, North Lincoln and West Lincoln all earned the top seed from their conference and will host games through at least the first two rounds.
Lincoln Charter (16-4) hosts wildcard Monroe Union Academy (8-13) at 5 p.m. today and North Lincoln (17-6) hosts Concord Cox Mill (10-8) at 6. West Lincoln (20-3) will play under its home lights for the first time this season when it hosts Rutherfordton-Spindale Central (10-11) at 7.
East Lincoln’s softball team is the only team that must travel for its first round game. As the No. 3 seed from the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference, the Mustangs (13-8) head to Polk County (19-4) for a 5 p.m. game.
Lincoln Charter’s girls soccer team finished second and will host No. 12 Cherryville (6-14-1) at 5 p.m. today in the first round. The Eagles (16-6) swept the Lady Ironmen in Southern Piedmont 1A Conference play during the regular season.
The second round is scheduled to be held on Saturday per the NCHSAA, but schools have the option to play on Friday
According to NCHSAA baseball records kept since 1980, East Lincoln is making its 18th appearance in the state playoffs and is 12-18 during that span. North Lincoln is making its eighth postseason trip and is looking for its first playoff win in school history. Lincoln Charter is making its third trip, and is 3-2 all-time.
In softball, North Lincoln is making its 11th trip to the state playoffs and is 17-12 all-time. Lincoln Charter is making its fifth appearance, and is 3-4 all-time.
West Lincoln’s softball team is in the state playoffs for the 17th time, including eight trips as a slow-pitch team in the 1990s. The Rebels reached the state championship series in 1992, and the final four in 1995.
Last week they won their first conference tournament in fast-pitch softball in school history. West Lincoln won a conference tournament title as a slow-pitch team in 1995 en route to the double-elimination final four at the Walnut Creek softball complex in Raleigh.
Lincoln Charter is making its third appearance in the NCHSAA state girls soccer playoffs. The Eagles are winless in their previous two trips.