Chatham teams competing in conference tournaments


This week, Chatham County schools are competing in their respective baseball and softball conference tournaments. This is the final tune-up for area programs before the start of next week’s state playoffs.

Because of wet field conditions brought on by weekend storms, only two county teams were in action Monday night. In the Mid-Carolina Conference, the Jordan-Matthews baseball team defeated Cummings, 15-0. Meanwhile, in the Central 1A Tar Heel Conference, the Chatham Charter Knights were victorious over River Mill, 1-0.

Seaforth and Chatham Central’s baseball teams had their first-round matchup postponed until Tuesday night (occurred after press time). The semifinals of the conference tournament take place Wednesday, and the finals are scheduled for Thursday.

Heading into this week’s games, all three baseball teams in the Mid-Carolina Conference were over .500. The Jets won a share of the MCC regular season conference title, splitting it with Bartlett Yancey with a 9-3 conference mark, a half-game above Chatham Central (14-6, 8-4 Conf.) in the standings.

The Bears closed the regular season with a 3-2 loss to the Jets last Tuesday. Head coach Brett Walden’s squad is batting .374 as a team. Leading the charge at the plate for Central this season have been sophomore Matt Murchison (.397, 27 hits, 33 RBI) and seniors Hasten Paige (.388, 26 hits, 15 RBI) and Travis Crissman (.397, 25 hits, 16 RBI).

On the mound, Central junior Anthony Lopossay was 6-4 with a 2-14 ERA and 67 strikeouts over 49 innings coming into the tournament.

In the Central 1A Tar Heel Conference, Chatham Charter (14-1) won the league regular season title with a 11-1 mark against conference opponents. The Knights outscored their 15 regular-season opponents by an average of 7.9 runs per game.

At the plate, Chatham Charter’s top player has been sophomore Zach Cartrette, who is hitting .510 with 25 hits and 16 RBI this season. Junior Aidan Allred is also hitting .478 with 23 RBI and a county-high four home runs.

Cartrette, who stands at 6-foot-3, has also been the Knights’ top pitcher this spring. Across 37 innings pitched, he has posted a 5-0 record with a 1.51 ERA and 48 strikeouts against just 14 walks.

Switching gears to softball, the top Chatham County team entering this week’s conference tournaments was Chatham Central. The Bears had a 15-1 record during the regular season, including an 11-1 in Mid-Carolina Conference play. Central came into the week outscoring their opponents by an average of 11.3 runs per game.

Chatham Central, which played in the tournament semifinals Wednesday, is ranked as the No. 9 team in the 1A east by MaxPreps right now. Last season, the Bears made it to the third round of the playoffs before losing to Bear Grass Charter.

This season’s Central team is led by senior Jaylee Williams, who paces all county players in batting average (.611) and hits (33). In the circle, fellow senior Mary Gaines is 14-1 with a 0.67 ERA and 71 strikeouts across 63 innings.

Finishing the regular season just behind Central was the Jordan-Matthews softball team (14-4, 10-2 Conf.). The Jets closed the regular season by winning nine of their last 10 games, including a 4-2 win over the Bears back on April 21.

Head coach Holly Clark’s team has four batters — Logan Gunter (.510), Reagan Smith (.421), Macy Beavers (.410) and Marcy Clark (.400) — hitting at least .400 this season. Meanwile, sophomore Sophia Murchison leads all county players with six home runs.

Seaforth, which Chatham Central played Tuesday in the first round of the MCC Tournament, was 11-10 in the regular season. The Hawks were 0-5 this regular season against Chatham County opponents, including an 0-2 mark against J-M and Central and an 0-1 record against Northwood.

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