For American Legion Baseball, July 4th week means the beginning of the state playoffs.
The Area IV pairings meeting is scheduled for tonight, and 16 of the 17 teams that make up Area IV will receive confirmation of their seed and their first-round opponent.
For the most part, teams can look at the standings and pretty much figure out who they’ll be playing when the opening round gets underway on Tuesday (tentative) evening. But if there are any ties that need to be broken, that will happen at the annual pre-playoff meeting.
The number one seeds are set for each division, with Mint Hill (13-3 in division) taking the top spot in the Eastern Division and Cherryville (12-2) earning the one seed in the Western Division. Post 100’s 12-7 win over Asheville last night in the completion of a protested game from last week secured them the top spot overall seed.
Cherryville will take on Cleveland County (3-13) in the opening round of the Area IV playoffs. Cleveland County is made up of both Shelby Post 82 and Kings Mountain Post 155, who merged this season.
Mint Hill will open the Area IV playoffs against Burnsville (2-12), the number eight seed in the Western Division.
The number two seed in the Eastern Division was still yet to be decided heading into Sunday night, with the Gaston Braves (11-5) holding a half game lead over Union County (10-5). Union could have moved into a first-place tie with Gaston with a win over Pineville, and would secure the two seed because of a season sweep over the Braves.
The second seed in the Eastern Division will take on the seventh seed from the Western, which is Hickory Post 48 (3-11), and the three seed will face west number six Henderson County (6-8).
Asheville’s (10-4) loss to Cherryville Sunday evening gave Post 70 the second seed in the Western Division, and they’ll take on Huntersville (5-11), the seventh seed from the East.
Rutherford County (9-5) is the three seed out of the Western Division, and will take on Pineville (8-7) or Lincoln County (9-7). If Pineville lost their regular-season finale to Union County Sunday night, it will be Post 337 that faces Rutherford County.
That same scenario would also make Lincoln County Post 455 (9-7) the fifth seed out of the Eastern Division, and they would battle the number four seed from the west. Burke County (7-7) and Caldwell County (7-7) tied for fourth place in the Western Division and split their two regular-season meetings. That tie will be broken at the Area IV meeting tonight.
Gastonia Post 23 (10-6) is the number four seed in the Eastern Division, unless a Union County loss to Pineville on Sunday creates a tie for third and fourth. Those two teams also split during the regular season.
Maiden Post 240 was the only Area IV team not to get into the postseason. Maiden finished the regular season with a record of 2-14 in the Eastern Division. Post 240 had to forfeit several games due to ineligible players.
If all things remain as they are, with ties of course being broken at tonight’s meeting, Lincoln County would travel to either Burke or Caldwell County on Tuesday evening for Game 1 of a best-of-five series, and host Game 2 on Wednesday at East Lincoln High School.
Cherryville would be at home for their opening game on Tuesday against Cleveland County, then play Game 2 on the road at either Kings Mountain or Shelby High School.
Area IV projected first-round playoff pairings:
E1)Mint Hill vs. W8)Burnsville
W4)Burke or Caldwell vs. E5)Lincoln or Pineville
W2)Asheville vs. E7)Huntersville
E3)Union, Gaston or Gastonia vs.
W1)Cherryville vs. E8)Cleveland
E4)Gastonia or Union vs. W5)Burke or Caldwell
E2)Gaston or Union vs. W7)Hickory
W3)Rutherford vs. E6)Pineville or Lincoln