The pandemic year of 2021 was infamous for schedule changes. Games would be canceled in less than 24 hours notice, and others would be rescheduled on a whim for later that day.
Once the pandemic ended, some local coaches thought the days of slapdash scheduling were over. Unfortunately, that hasn’t exactly been the case this year.
Hardly a week has gone by this season without a softball game being rescheduled, canceled or moved because of either:
B: the unavailability of umpires.
The Central Carolina Conference regular season was supposed to end last Friday with all seven teams playing 12 league games. But there was more rain Thursday and Friday. Thus Orange’s game against Eastern Alamance, which has ramifications for seeding in the state playoffs, was delayed until tonight (Tuesday).
Which led to another problem.
The Central Carolina Conference Tournament was supposed to start Monday night, but it has been in flux since last month. Walter Williams abandoned its season in early April after starting the year 0-12.
Pressed with two regular season games that haven’t been completed, the athletic directors in the CCC voted last Friday to reduce the CCC Tournament to four teams. The tournament will begin on Wednesday when the regular season is completed tonight.
In addition to Eastern Alamance at Orange, Cedar Ridge’s game against Person will be played at Red Wolves Stadium tonight at 6 PM.
On Wednesday night, the four-team tournament will start with Western Alamance hosting Person in Elon. Orange will travel to Eastern Alamance. The championship game will be held on Thursday night.
The streamlined tournament will deprive local fans of another crosstown matchup. Cedar Ridge and Orange appeared set to meet in the opening round. Instead, the Red Wolves regular season will end after its game against Person. Cedar Ridge, coming off a win over Northwood, is currently #25 in the 3A East RPI rankings. That would put them comfortably in the 3A State Playoffs, though they will almost certainly travel to face conference champion in the opening round.
Tonight’s Orange-Eastern Alamance game has plenty riding on it. While Western Alamance is already in the clubhouse as the CCC Champions with a 12-0 league mark, Eastern Alamance is in second place in the CCC with an 8-2 league record. Orange is 7-3. The Lady Panthers lost its first matchup to the Eagles 10-3 in Mebane on April 4.
Since then, Orange has gone 5-1. Currently, Orange is #10 in the RPI rankings while Eastern Alamance is #11. For teams that aren’t conference champions, one notch in the rankings can make the difference between staying at home for the opening round of the state playoffs and hitting the road.
Orange can still tie for second place with a win over the Eagles tonight.
The Lady Panthers’ five-game winning streak ended last week with a 6-1 loss to West Forsyth in Clemmons. Senior Carson Bradsher drove in the only run of the game with a single to score Serenity McPherson. Bradsher and McPherson each had multi-hit games.
Cedar Ridge (10-9) will play its final home game of the season tonight. It will be the final home game for Anaya Carter, Hayley King, Grace Young, Caira Peach, and Tori Carden, Carter and Young won a state championship together for the Cedar Ridge volleyball team in 2021. They will each play volleyball in college. Y0ung will play at UNC Asheville. Carter will play at UNC Pembroke.