Central, J-M and Chatham Charter playing well


Chatham County figures to have several teams qualify for the state softball playoffs. Heading into this week’s games, two teams held undefeated records, while another was five games above .500.

Continuing the title of the most dominant team in the area is Chatham Central, which is 11-0 entering Thursday’s game against Bartlett Yancey. The Bears have won their 11 games by an average of 10.9 runs per game, and they’ve only given up 19 runs total to their opponents.

The main reason for that latter stat is senior Mary Gaines, who is having another fantastic season in the circle. So far in 2023, she has an undefeated record and 48 strikeouts against just five walks over 40 innings pitched. As a staff, the Bears have yet to give up an extra-base hit this season and have a team ERA of 0.52.

At the plate, senior Jaylee Williams is batting a ridiculous .636 with 21 hits and 12 RBI. Three other Bears — junior Cassie McKeithan (.429, 12 hits, 17 RBI), sophomore Emma Burke (.577, 15 hits, 15 RBI) and sophomore Caleigh Warf (.344, 11 hits, 15 RBI) — have at least 15 RBI.

A few games behind Central in the Mid-Carolina Conference standings is Jordan-Matthews, which have an 8-3 overall record and a 3-1 mark in league play entering Thursday’s road game at Roxboro Community. This is the best season for the Jets in quite a while; the last time they finished the year with a record above .500 was 2018 (15-8).

There’s reason to believe this success will continue into the future, as head coach Holly Clark’s team only has two seniors — Macy Beavers and Suesanna Lee. The Jets have contributions from all over their roster this season, including sophomore third baseman Sophia Murchison, sophomore pitcher/second baseman Marcy Clark, junior shortstop Logan Gunter and junior catcher Reagan Smith.

The third Chatham County team in the Mid-Carolina Conference, Seaforth, was 3-6 overall and 3-2 in league play coming into Wednesday’s road game against Cedar Ridge (after press time). Despite the slow start to the year, the Hawks came into the week on a two-game winning streak and look like they might turn things around over the next few weeks.

Seaforth has gotten big contributions from a pair of freshmen in Cami Brinkley (.722, 13 hits, 13 RBI) and Emma Strong (.522, 12 hits, nine RBI). Of the Hawks’ 12-player roster, five are juniors, three are sophomores and four are freshmen.

Chatham Charter was the county’s other undefeated team coming into the week, though the Knights’ had played just three games entering Tuesday against Gray Stone Day. Chatham Charter also plays Thursday at home against River Mill.

Despite only playing three games, the Knights had three players — freshman Kynzie Jordan (.846, 11 hits, three RBI), sophomore Ella Ingle (.692, nine hits, two RBI) and junior Delana Loflin (.615, eight hits, six RBI) — with at least eight hits coming into the week.

Chatham Charter has won all three of its games by at least six runs. The Knights have finished with a .500 record or better in each of the past three seasons, including an 11-9 mark last season under head coach Brittany Smith.

Playing in the Central 3A Conference, Northwood had an overall record of 5-10 and a conference record of 1-5 coming into Tuesday’s game against Western Alamance. The Chargers came into the week on a four-game losing streak and have allowed 9.3 runs per game to their opponents this season.

Northwood’s top players at the plate this season have been junior Sarah Warfford (.529, 18 hits, 11 RBI), senior Zoe Hatzidakis (.450, 18 hits, 11 RBI) and freshman Allison Bryant (.289, 11 hits, 14 RBI). On the mound, the Chargers’ top option has been junior Caroline Garner, who had a 3-2 record with a 4.59 ERA and 24 strikeouts through 32 innings pitched entering this week.

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