Thursday marked the beginning of the next round of the 2012 playoffs for baseball and softball. Union County has eight teams still competing for a shot at a state championship; five in baseball, three in softball.
Ingomar opened its playoff run, hosting Smithville, while the remaining county schools were on the road (New Albany at Kosciusko, Myrtle at TCPS, West Union at Thrasher and East Union at Calhoun City). Tonight, the schools will trade places, with the Falcons on the road and the remaining schools at home.
Smithville came into the Ingomar series after defeating Falkner in the play-in series last weekend. The Seminoles are 12-14 on the year, finishing at 8-2 in district play.
Ingomar is the top seed out of Region 2-1A, finishing undefeated in region play and has won all of its games in 1A play since losing to Myrtle, 12-4, in the Union County Tournament on March 16.
New Albany swept Humphreys County last weekend to advance, taking on Kosciusko. The Whippets are 20-5 on the year and are led at the plate by Conner Hill, who is batting .449. Senior Ethan Porter has pitched 44 innings for the Whippets had is one of three pitchers with an ERA under two (1.88).
Myrtle took care of Ray Brooks in a double header last Friday and now face Tupelo Christian Prep. The Eagles finished district play at 10-0 and are 14-9 overall. Junior Andrew Soper leads the Eagles at the plate, batting .488 in 23 appearances.
West Union defeated Shaw to advance to play Thrasher. The Rebels finished region play at 11-1 and are 14-9 overall on the season.
After finishing its opening series against Riverside on Monday, East Union now faces Calhoun City. The Wildcats are batting .320 as a team, led by Raheem Roberson (.365).
Softball opens its next round today with West Union, Myrtle and Ingomar still in the hunt.
The Lady Eagles begin its north half championship defense against Vardaman on the road. The Rams defeated Jumpertown last weekend, while the Lady Eagles had a bye as the district champs out of Region 2-1A.
Myrtle received a bye after H.W. Byers forfeited the opening series. The Lady Hawks will open its playoff run taking on Smithville, who is 15-9 on the season.
Ingomar earned a series sweep of Ethel last weekend and will take on Pine Grove this weekend.
For continuous updates from all of the playoff action, check out the New Albany Gazette online (newalbanygazette.com) or on Twitter: @ezaremba1618.