Aynor Softball SSP ILB 1

Kennedy Ellis warms up ahead of softball practice on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Photo by Ian Livingston Brooking.

Aynor and Dillon softball have already clinched Region VII-3A’s playoff berths.

But the Blue Jackets and Wildcats will need an additional game to determine where each of them fall in the postseason pecking order. After both teams finished region play 7-1, the two will play one game on May 11 to determine playoff seeding, something for this year that equates to opening the postseason at home or on the road.

“Not discounting the other teams, but we kind of felt like we’d have a chance to play for the region championship and we do, and we thought it would be against Dillon and it is,” Aynor head coach Tony Mills said. “We gave up a few more runs in region play, so Dillon gets to host. That’s fine. We’ll go back over there and do it again.”

The region broke ranks from many of the others around the state and elected to utilize a one-game playoff to determine any potential seeding ties following the eight-game slates for each program in baseball and softball. In the case of softball, even a head-to-head runs differential wouldn’t have satisfied any tie-breakers. 

Aynor won the first match-up 3-2 on March 30 while Dillon repaid the favor with a 4-3 victory last week. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions for a potential neutral-site game, the region used overall runs allowed against all region opponents to determine next week’s host. Dillon squeezed by in that category, meaning the two will meet in front of an expected large crowd.

Mills, though, is going to be charged with keeping his players’ attention away from that game until the time comes. And that means not scaling back on what was already a busy final two weeks of the regular season. 

The Blue Jackets will play non-region games this week against Johnsonville and East Clarendon (twice) prior to next Tuesday’s game at Dillon. The next day, Aynor will then face Socastee.

Three days after that, it’s either a first-round home playoff game against Oceanside Collegiate or a trip to fellow powerhouse Hanahan — depending on what happens against Dillon.

So, could Region VII-3A’s top two teams make it through the double-elimination district rounds to face each other for the lower state crown?

“I think that's a good possibility. But there are no easy games in the playoffs,” Mills said. “With only [the top] two teams going this year — and we’re going to stress this to our kids — on May 17, someone is going home.”

SOCCER & TENNIS PLAYOFFS COMMENCE

The abbreviated state soccer and boys tennis playoffs begin Monday and Tuesday. 

For soccer on the girls side, Class 5A programs Carolina Forest and St. James are joined by Myrtle Beach in Class 4A. Boys teams Socastee and Carolina Forest (Class 5A), Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach (4A) and Loris (3A) each made the cut. 

Of those programs, only the Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach girls and Myrtle Beach boys are guaranteed two home playoff games with a first-round win, courtesy of the pre-determined region placements. 

In tennis, four area squads qualified for the postseason, led by No. 1 seeds Socastee and Myrtle Beach (in Class 5A and 4A, respectively) and No. 2 seeds St. James and North Myrtle Beach.

The first-round winners in each classification will turn around and play in the second-round matches on Wednesday. 

BOYS TENNIS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Class 5A (Monday, first round)

No. 2 St. James at No. 1 Wando

No. 2 Stratford at No. 1 Socastee

Class 4A (Monday, first round)

At-large James Island at No. 1 Myrtle Beach

No. 2 North Myrtle Beach at No. 2 North Augusta 

SOCCER PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

GIRLS (Monday, first round)

Class 5A

No. 2 St. James at No. 1 Wando

No. 2 Cane Bay at No. 1 Carolina Forest

Class 4A 

At-Large Bluffton at No. 1 Myrtle Beach

BOYS (Tuesday, first round)

Class 5A

No. 2 Carolina Forest at No. 1 Wando

No. 2 Stratford at No. 1 Socastee

Class 4A

At-Large May River at No. 1 Myrtle Beach

No. 2 North Myrtle Beach at No. 2 Midland Valley

Class 3A

No. 2 Loris at No. 1 Bishop England

UPDATED REGION BASEBALL/SOFTBALL STANDINGS & PLAYOFF MATCH-UPS

BASEBALL

Region VI-5A

1. SOC 10-2

2. STJ 7-5

3. CF 6-5

4. CON 4-8

5. SUM 2-9

First-round playoff match-ups (May 15):

No. 2 St. James at No. 1 Berkeley

No. 2 Wando at No. 1 Socastee

Region VI-4A

1. NMB 7-3

1. WF 6-2

1. SF 6-2

4. HART 5-3

5. MB 4-4

6. DAR 2-6

7. WIL 0-10

Next week’s series: MB-SF, WIL-HART, WF-DAR (Tuesday-Friday); NMB (off)

Region VII-3A

1. GT 7-1

2. AYN 6-2

3.  WAC 4-4

4. LOR 3-5

5. DIL 0-8

First-round playoff matchup (May 15)

No. 2 Aynor at No. 1 Hanahan/Bishop England

Region V-1A

1. GSF 10-0

2. LV 8-2

3. JV 6-4

4. LAM 4-6

5. H-P 2-8

6. TIM 0-10

First-round playoff match-up (May 14):

No. 2 Branchville at No. 1 Green Sea Floyds

SOFTBALL

Region VI-5A

1. STJ 10-2

2. SOC 7-5

3. CON 6-6

4. SUM 4-7

5. CF 2-9

First-round playoff match-ups (May 15):

No. 2 Socastee at No. 1 Berkeley

No. 2 Stratford at No. 1 St. James

Region VI-4A

1. DAR 7-1

1. HART 7-1

3. WF 5-3

3. SF 4-2

5. NMB 5-5

6. WIL 2-8

7. MB 0-10

This week’s series: NMB-SF (Monday-Thursday); MB-SF, DAR-WF, HART-WIL (Tuesday-Friday)

Region VII-3A

1. DIL 7-1*

1. AYN 7-1*

3. LOR 3-5

3. WAC 2-6

5. GT 1-7

AYN-DIL play a seeding-based game on May 11

First-round playoff match-ups (May 15):

No. 2 Aynor/Dillon at No. 1 Hanahan

No. 2 Oceanside Collegiate at No. 1 Aynor/Dillon

Region V-1A

1. LV 10-0

2. JV 7-2

3. H-P 6-3

4. GSF 3-7

5. LAM 3-7

6. TIM 0-10

Remaining region game: JV-H-P (May 12)

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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