West Bladen unanimous top choice for softball bracket

Last updated: April 04. 2014 10:48AM - 1454 Views
By - sschlaufman@civitasmedia.com

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FAIRMONT — With the season nearing its midpoint, the Fairmont baseball team is at the top of the Three Rivers Conference and when Robeson County Slugfest starts later this month, the Golden Tornadoes will be at the top of that too.

Fairmont received the No. 1 seed for the baseball tournament, edging out second-seeded Purnell Swett and third-seeded Lumberton.

“I don’t know if that’s good luck or bad luck,” Fairmont coach Sandy Thorndyke said. “We’ve still got to win three games to win it and there’s going to be Lumberton, Swett, Red Springs, and West Bladen.”

Seeds were announced this week for the tournament, which will be played starting on April 19 in Red Springs.

As the top seed, Fairmont will play No. 8 South Robeson in the first round. No. 4 West Bladen vs. No. 5 Red Springs rounds out the top half of the bracket. The bottom half includes No. 2 Purnell Swett vs. No. 7 St. Pauls and No. 3 Lumberton vs. No. 6 Freedom Christian.

The softball bracket pits No. 1 West Bladen vs. No. 8 St. Pauls, No. 4 Terry Sanford vs. No. 5 South Robeson, No. 3 Lumberton vs. No. 6 Fairmont and No. 2 Purnell Swett vs. No. 7 Red Springs.

All seeding is done based on voting by coaches, who assign points to teams, with their highest-ranked team getting eight and their lowest getting one .

In the baseball voting, the top three seeds were separated by three points, with Fairmont finishing with 56, Swett 55 and Lumberton 53. The fourth seed had 32 points.

Lumberton and Fairmont each received two first place votes and Swett received three.

“The three of us were seeded about one, two or three in just about everybody’s bracket,” Thorndyke said. “Either one of the three could have been the one, two or three, it’s just going to come down to who can produce.”

South Robeson received the eighth first-place vote.

If Fairmont can win the first two games, it would put the Golden Tornadoes in their first Slugfest championship game since 2011. The school hasn’t won the tournament since 1997.

“I think it would be a big confidence builder and they feel like they’ve got the opportunity to get there,” Thorndyke said. “If we can get there, win or lose, it would be good for the kids because our players have worked hard.”

Lumberton has won three straight Slugfest titles and four of the last six.

West Bladen was a unanimous pick for the top seed in the softball bracket with 64 points. Purnell Swett beat Lumberton by four points, 48-44, for the second seed.

It sets up a potential fourth-straight title game between West Bladen and Swett. The Knights have won the championship the last two years but lost to the Rams in 2011. Purnell Swett also won the inaugural softball Slugfest in 2010.

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