Mooresville High School’s baseball team will be among the state’s first to get cranking on its quest towards capturing a championship crown.
The Blue Devils, the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class-level West Region champion to also establish another new program precedent, will be among the four teams from across the state making their debut in a state baseball championship series.
The Devils, the No. 11 in the West Region bracket, will take on the No. 3 seed of East Region and champion Corinth Holders High School for the NCHSAA 4A class baseball title in the tabled best-of-three-games championship series.
The opening game of the at minimum two-game set will take place with a first pitch set for 5 p.m. Friday. Mooresville has also been pre-designated to be the visiting team in the opening game.
The entire affair will take place on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Baseball Stadium facility.
Admission fees, established by the NCHSAA, vary. A complete series package can be purchased for $20 each. Single entry into games one and three will cost $8 each. Tickets to games two and three will be available for a cost of $12 apiece.
“We’re really looking forward to the experience,’’ said Jeff Burchett, doing double-duty in the pride department as Mooresville’s 21 st -season head coach. “I gave the guys the Memorial Day holiday weekend off to allow them to savor their season to this point. Now, though, it’s time to get down back to business. It’s a great time for us all. It’s the first time any of us have ever been through something like this. It’s definitely a special time for any and all associated with the baseball program.”
Burchett is a product of the program and is also relishing the experience as a proud father of one of the team’s players. Starting senior shortstop Blake Burchett, a Louisburg College commit, also regularly hits from the team’s leadoff spot in the batting order.
“Wow,” said Burchett. “It really can’t get much better than this. I’m with a program that I played with in high school, and now I’m getting to enjoy this ride with my own son. All the players are special. It’s a great time for the program.”
Mooresville will be appearing in its first ever baseball state finals. The Blue Devils, first-time regional finalists, ousted fellow West Region final foe Phafftown Ronald Reagan in the bare minimum number of two games to advance to the state championship showdown.
With the first game of the series set for the rush-hour start, the assured second game of the event –in which the Blue Devils will be filling the role of the home team -- will be held beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday. A game three, if needed, will take place later on Saturday afternoon. All play will be held at the UNC-G field.
The Devils sit at the 22-9 mark for the season overall and are in the midst of a five-game winning streak – covering the current extent of their postseason run – that also stands as the longest of the season overall. Mooresville will pit its effort against that of a Corinth Holders club owning a 23-6 overall record.
“We may not know much about them,” said Burchett, “but even if we did, we don’t plan on doing anything different on our part. We hope to keep right on doing what we’ve done to get us here.”
Should the baseball team be successful in its bid, it would join the school’s volleyball, boys soccer, boys cross country, boys winter track and field and wrestling programs as those with state titles to their credits.
Like Mooresville, Corinth Holders Pirates can claim a conference championship crown to their credit. The squad placed first within its Northwestern Conference. Corinth Holders prevailed over fellow East Region finalist Holly Springs in a series that went the full distance of three games. The Pirates surfaced as a winner in each of the set’s odd-numbered games to also merit their program’s first state finals berth.
Mooresville and Corinth Holders, the latter based out the Wendell area, will account for half the teams filling the UNC-G field for state championship crown contention.
Also taking somewhat local ties into place, nearby Denver-based North Lincoln will serve as the West Region rep when squaring off against East Region winner Randleman in the NCHSAA 2A class title set. Games involving those two teams will take place around the 4A class affairs.
Also, the state’s 3A and 1A class series will be held at the Five County Stadium in Zebulon. The 1A duel between West Region winner Uwharrie Charter and East Region rep Rosewood will also feature a 5 p.m. start on Friday. The 3A set pits the West Region’s Marvin Ridge against the East’s New Hanover.
The No. 11 seed by Mooresville ties it with the 2A class entry Randleman as the remaining lowest-seeded teams still in contention for championship crowns. Only 3A class finalist Marvin Ridge and 1A entry Uwharrie Charter, each seeded No. 10, also own double-digit standards. On the other end of the scale, 3A class East Region champ New Hanover is the only No. 1 seed to back that billing by reaching the state finals. North Lincoln and Rosewood each own No. 2 seeds, respectively.