ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond baseball team, unlike last year, gets to stay put to start the playoffs.
Head coach Ricky Young and the Raiders (17-7) received the No. 15 overall seed in the West bracket of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A State Playoffs and will host No. 18 Davie County (10-11) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The winner will travel to No. 2 East Forsyth (20-5) in the second round.
“We’re happy to be playing at home,” Young said. “Every team you play (in the playoffs) is going to be really good, so having the first game at home, we hope, is going to be an advantage for us.”
An early exit from last week’s Sandhills Athletic Conference Tournament gave Richmond — which has played somewhat of a demanding schedule that included a four-game week last month — six days in between games for the first time this season.
But Young, who doesn’t like taking time off, would’ve much rather watched his team win three games in four days in order to claim its first conference tournament title since 2015. It could’ve been the start of another long winning streak.
“I would’ve preferred to keep playing but we kind of created that for ourselves, so we’ve got to deal with it,” he said.
Davie County enters the playoffs with a losing record, but Young won’t be fooled by that.
The War Eagles come from the Central Piedmont Conference, which is “loaded with good teams,” are well-coached and will more than likely have junior left-handed pitcher Carson Whisenhunt — a East Carolina University commit — on the mound.
Tuesday’s meeting will be the first between Richmond and Davie County since Young became head coach.
“They finished fourth (in conference) but had a lot of close games,” Young said. “It’s going to be a tough matchup. You can’t really look at their record because they’re much better than their record indicates.”
Richmond will be looking to get back to its winning ways — the team’s 12-game win streak was snapped in a loss to Scotland a week and a half ago — and avoid another first-round exit from the state playoffs.
Last season, it had to hit the road as the West’s 18th-seeded team and fell to then-No. 15 seed Alexander Central 2-1.
“We’ve just go to make plays and execute on offense,” Young added. “You can’t give free opportunities in playoff baseball. We’ve got to limit mistakes and execute when we get runners on base.”
SAC opponents Pinecrest, Jack Britt and Scotland made the playoffs as well.
Pinecrest (22-4) is the No. 4 overall seed in the West and has a first-round bye. It will host the winner of No. 13 West Forsyth-No. 20 Olympic in the second round.
Scotland (15-10) grabbed the No. 19 seed in the West and will play at No. 14 South Mecklenburg (20-7) to start the postseason. Jack Britt (15-9) is the No. 11 seed in the East bracket and will host No. 22 Riverside (12-11) in the first round.
For a full look at the NCHSAA