4 Chatham County teams make softball state playoffs


Update: The first round of the softball state tournaments took place Tuesday night, after this story was written. Here are the scores:

Chatham Central 17, Bertie 0

Southside 6, Chatham Charter 3

Bartlett Yancey 6, Jordan-Matthews 0

Richlands 13, Northwood 0

Chatham Central will play Falls Lake on the road Friday in the second round. Start time TBD.

All but one of the Chatham County high school softball teams made their respective state tournaments.

Representing the county in the 1A bracket are both Chatham Charter and Chatham Central. The Knights earned the No. 7 seed in the 1A east and faced Southside in the first round at home Tuesday (game occurred after press time). The Bears were seeded at No. 9 and hosted Bertie on Tuesday.

Chatham Charter entered the state playoffs with a 9-2 overall record. The Knights’ 11 games played is among the fewest of any team in the state playoffs, but they have shown how talented they can be when they are playing.

The Knights averaged over 10 runs per game in the regular season and came into the state playoffs batting .452 as a team. Three Chatham Charter players have averages over .500 — freshman Kynzie Jordan (.757, 28 hits, seven RBI), sophomore Ella Ingle (.667, 22 hits, five RBI) and senior Hallie Edmondson (.549, 17 hits, 19 RBI).

In the circle, Edmonson has gone 5-0 with a 4.51 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 45 innings pitched.

Chatham Central (16-2), meanwhile, won the regular-season Mid-Carolina Conference title, but the Bears fell in the conference tournament finals to the Jordan-Matthews, 6-4, last Friday. Both of the Bears’ losses this season have come to the Jets.

Head coach Drew Hackney’s team is led at the plate by senior Jaylee Williams, who came into the tournament batting .576 with 34 hits and 22 RBI. Junior Cassie McKeithan hit .472 with 25 hits and 31 RBI, while sophomore Emma Burke hit 511 with 23 hits and 22 RBI.

The Bears also have a dominant pitcher in the circle in senior Mary Gaines, who is 15-2 this season with a 1.12 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched. Last season, Gaines totaled just 59 strikeouts across 69.1 innings.

Jordan-Matthews was the lone county school to make the 2A tournament. The Jets (17-4) are arguably the hottest team in the area, as they entered the playoffs coming off a win over Chatham Central in last weekend’s Mid-Carolina Conference tournament final.

In that game, junior Logan Gunter was 2-2 with a home run, a double and three RBI. Freshman Lilli Hicks was 3-for-4 at the plate and threw six innings on the mound, allowing two hits and three runs while striking out three batters.

Jordan-Matthews’ 17 wins entering the state playoffs are its most in a single season since going 19-7 overall back in 2017. The Jets earned the No. 8 seed in the 2A east and played Bartlett Yancey at home Tuesday night. In two previous meetings with Bartlett Yancey this season, J-M was 1-1 — winning 12-5 on March 31 and losing 10-8 on April 25. If the Jets won Tuesday’s game, they will play in the second round Friday at home vs. either South Columbus or Farmville Central.

Making the 3A tournament for the second year in a row, Northwood earned the No. 32 seed in the 3A east and had to face top-seeded Richlands on the road Tuesday night.

The Chargers entered the state playoffs with an overall record of 5-17. Head coach Jesse Mann’s team has been hindered by injuries and a very tough conference slate.

Northwood has been led at the plate by senior Zoe Hatzidakis (.397 average, 23 hits, 11 RBI) and junior Sarah Warfford (.429, 21 hits, 12 RBI). 

Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at jeremy@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.

softball, chatham central, chatham charter, jordan-matthews, northwood