4-19-24 roundup: Pro basketball, soccer and baseball, College baseball, High school baseball and softball, Middle school baseball and soccer, Auto racing

By Richard Walker

Arguably the country’s biggest college baseball series this weekend will take place at Gastonia’s Sims Legion Park when Gaston College hosts Florence-Darlington Tech with the Region 10 Division I regular season title at stake.

Gaston College catcher Seth Christmas (left) talks to pitcher Landon Carr during a recent Rhinos’ win at Cleveland Community College.

The host Rhinos (44-5, 17-3) are ranked No. 2 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I poll (and No. 1 in the Dream Big Athletics poll) with Florence-Darlington Tech (42-6, 20-0) ranked No. 4.

“When FloDar comes in here, we’re going to need to play our best baseball,” Gaston College sophomore catcher Seth Christmas said. “I’ve been through it and some other guys have been through it. In these big games, you have to lock in and play ball.”

The four-game series will be doubleheaders starting Saturday at 3 p.m. and Monday at 3 p.m. And Saturday’s opener marks the 24th time Gaston College has faced a nationally-ranked team in the three years since the school restarted athletics in the 2021-22 school year.

That began with the school’s first game as the Rhinos’ 8-3 win on Feb. 2, 2022 at Caldwell Tech saw the host Cobras ranked No. 9 in the preseason NJCAA Division III poll.

Gaston College enters the weekend with a 15-8 all-time record against ranked opponents that includes 3-4 against Florence-Darlington Tech last season. The Rhinos lost the regular season series at FDT 3-1 before winning two of three games over the Stingers in the 2023 East District tournament at Sims Legion Park. The last two victories sent Gaston College to the NJCAA Division I World Series in Grand Junction, Col.

This season, Christmas and seven other returnees from the 50-13 teams and 28 newcomers have been determined since offseason drills began last September to have another championship and advance again to the World Series.

Christmas, who is one of 11 Rhinos players to sign or commit to a four-year school, has led the charge offensively with team-highs in batting average (.408) and RBIs (67) and second on the team in home runs (10).

After opening the season at No. 14 in the NJCAA preseason poll, Gaston College soared to No. 2 for four weeks, No. 1 for two weeks, No. 4 for one week and No. 2 again this week.

Christmas joins teammates Landon Carr (Campbell), Calvert Clark (Appalachian State), J.J. DeVos (Mount Olive), Caleb Estes (Charlotte), Ben Karpowicz (Campbell), Wagner Morrissette (Iowa), Freddie Oliver (North Carolina A&T), Mason Smith (Campbell), Evan Vandenbosch (Georgia Southern) and Isaac Williams (Elon) as signees or commitments to four-year schools.










College beach volleyball

Gaston College will be able to show off its campus and its only on-campus athletic venue this Saturday when the Rhinos host the 2024 Region 10 championships at their five-net complex.

“This venue, especially when we put a few more things in place like restrooms and some shade structures will be the go-to venue in the state,” Gaston College coach Rachel Noreika said. “Being able to host the Region 10 championships is really special.”

For the Rhinos, it also affords a chance to advance to a second straight National Junior College Athletic Association championship tournament as the top three teams on Saturday qualify for the May 2 through 4 event in Huntsville, Ala.

“I think we’re ready,” Noreika said. “We’re super excited for the opportunity to host it here and we’re anxious and ready to compete for a title.”

The Rhinos finished 7-19 overall but that record is deceiving in that 16 of those losses came to four-year schools and the other three came against Region 10 regular season champion Richard Bland.

The pairs of Valentina Rodriguez and Cristina Rotola (11) and Naomi Hilliard and Maddie Dearing (9) have racked up the most victories this season for Gaston College.

Noreika’s team last spring became the school’s first-ever NJCAA national championship tournament participant when its finished 10th in the inaugural beach volleyball championship tournament in Tavares, Fla.

Saturday’s schedule:
No. 5 Spartanburg Methodist vs. No. 4 Wake Tech, 9 a.m.
No. 5-4 winner vs. No. 1 Richard Bland, 11 a.m.
No. 3 Sandhills CC vs. No. 2 Gaston College, 1 p.m.
3rd place – 11 a.m. loser vs. 1 p.m. loser, 3 p.m.
Championship – 11 a.m. winner vs. 1 p.m. winner, 5 p.m.
(Note: Winner of 3 p.m. game and both teams in 5 p.m. game advance to NJCAA nationals May 2-4 in Huntsville, Ala.)









High school baseball

Here is the area schedule:

(Friday, April 19)
North Gaston 8, Ashbrook 0: Starter and winner Caleb Cloninger (6 2/3 innings, 9 strikeouts) and Blake Mitchell (1/3 inning, 1 strikeout) combined on the shutout for North Gaston, whose offense was led by Chase Ghantt (3 hits, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs), Chandler Wooten (2 hits) and Cloninger (2 hits, double).

Cramer 3, Huss 0: Dylan Jennings (1-hitter, 10 strikeouts, 1 hit, 2 RBIs), Kenan Helton (2 hits, 1 stolen base) and Nic Stutzman (double, 1 run) led Cramer.

Kings Mountain 11, Forestview 0 (5 innings)

Shelby 10, Bessemer City 5

North Lincoln 11, East Lincoln 10

East Burke 5, Lincolnton 4

West Lincoln defeated West Caldwell (forfeit)

Corvian 14, Mountain Island Charter 0 (5 innings)

(Saturday, April 20)
Cramer at Kell

(Monday, April 22)
Cramer at Ashbrook
Corvian at Highland Tech
East Lincoln at East Rutherford
Forestview at East Gaston
Gaston Christian at Metrolina
Mountain Island Charter at Union Academy
North Hills Christian at Piedmont Community Charter
Spartanburg Day at Gaston Day

(Tuesday, April 23)
Crest at North Gaston
Huss at at Forestview
Kings Mountain at South Point
Burns at Shelby
Cherryville at Bessemer City
Thomas Jefferson at Highland Tech
Piedmont Community Charter at Carolina International
East Lincoln at North Iredell
Hickory at North Lincoln
East Burke at West Lincoln
Lincolnton at Maiden
Gaston Christian at Concord Academy
Bradford Prep at Mountain Island Charter
Christ the King at Lincoln Charter

(Wednesday, April 24)
Thomas Jefferson at Bessemer City
Cramer at East Gaston
Draughn at Burns
Maiden at North Gaston

(Thursday, April 25)
Ashbrook at Cramer
Mountain Island Charter at Bradford Prep
Gaston Day at Gaston Christian
Cherryville at East Burke
Pinnacle at Piedmont Community Charter

(Friday, April 26)
Forestview at Huss
North Gaston at Crest
South Point at Kings Mountain
Bessemer City at Cherryville
Highland Tech at Thomas Jefferson
Shelby at Burns
Foard at East Lincoln
Statesville at North Lincoln
Lincolnton at West Lincoln
Lincoln Charter at Christ the King
Gaston Day at Statesville Christian

(Monday, April 29)
Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference tournament
Western Foothills 3A Conference tournament
Catawba Valley 2A Conference tournament
Metro 1A Conference tournament
Catawba Shores 1A/2A Conference tournament

(Tuesday, April 30)
Ashbrook at Huss
Crest at Kings Mountain
Forestview at Cramer
North Gaston at South Point
East Lincoln at Hickory
North Lincoln at West Iredell

(Thursday, May 2)
North Lincoln at North Iredell
West Iredell at East Lincoln

(Friday, May 3)
Cramer at Forestview
Huss at Ashbrook
Kings Mountain at Crest
South Point at North Gaston










High school softball

(Friday, April 19)
Kings Mountain 7, Forestview 5: Blair Riley (3 hits, home run, 2 runs, walk), Lily Cabe (1 hit, 1 RBI) and Olivia Hensley (6-hitter, 8 strikeouts) led Forestview.









Pro soccer

Here is the Charlotte FC 2024 schedule:

(3-3-2 record)
Saturday, Feb 24, New York (W 1-0)
Saturday, Mar 2, at Vancouver (T 1-1)
Saturday, Mar 9, at Toronto (L 0-1)
Saturday, Mar 16, at Nashville (L 1-2)
Saturday, Mar 23, Columbus (W 2-0)
Saturday, Mar 30, Cincinnati (T 1-1)
Saturday, Apr 6, at New England (L 0-1)
Saturday, Apr 13, Toronto (W 3-2)
Sunday, Apr 21, Minnesota, 6 PM
Saturday, Apr 27, at New York, 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 4, Portland, 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 11, Nashville, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, May 15, at Chicago, 8:30 PM
Saturday, May 18, LA Galaxy, 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 25, Philadelphia, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, May 29, at New York Redbulls, 7:30 PM
Sunday, Jun 2, at Atlanta, 4:30 PM
Saturday, Jun 15, DC, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, Jun 19, Orlando, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Jun 22, at Philadelphia, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Jun 29, at Houston, 8:30 PM
Wednesday, Jul 3, Miami, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Jul 13, at Cincinnati, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, Jul 17, at Columbus, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Jul 20, at Austin, 8:30 PM
Saturday, Aug 24, New York Redbulls, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Aug 31, Atlanta, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Sep 14, at Montreal, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, Sep 18, at Orlando, 8 PM
Saturday, Sep 21, New England, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Sep 28, at Miami, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, Oct 2, Chicago, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Oct 5, Montreal, 7:30 PM
Saturday, Oct 19, at DC, 6 PM











Pro basketball

The NBA playoff pairings:

-Play-in tournament
April 16
West No. 8 (L.A. Lakers) at West No. 7 (New Orleans) – L.A. Lakers 110-106

April 16
West No. 10 (Golden State) at West No. 9 (Sacramento) – Sacramento 118-94

April 17
East No. 8 (Miami) at East No. 7 (Philadelphia) – Philadelphia 105-104

April 17
East No. 10 (Atlanta) at East No. 9 (Chicago) – Chicago 131-116

April 19
West No. 7 (New Orleans) vs. West No. 9 (Sacramento) – New Orleans 105-98

April 19
East No. 8 (Miami) vs. East No. 9 (Chicago) – Miami 112-91

-First round
East No. 1 (Boston) vs. East No. 8 (Miami)
April 21 at Boston
April 24 at Boston
April 27 at Miami
April 29 at Miami
May 1 at Boston
May 3 at Miami
May 5 at Boston

East No. 2 (New York) vs. East No. 7 (Philadelphia)
April 20 at New York
April 22 at New York
April 25 at Philadelphia
April 28 at Philadelphia
April 30 at New York
May 2 at Philadelphia
May 4 at New York

East No. 3 (Milwaukee) vs. East No. 6 (Indiana)
April 21 at Milwaukee
April 23 at Milwaukee
April 26 at Indiana
April 28 at Indiana
April 30 at Milwaukee
May 2 at Indiana
May 4 at Milwaukee

East No. 4 (Cleveland) vs. East No. 5 (Orlando)
April 20 at Cleveland
April 22 at Cleveland
April 25 at Orlando
April 27 at Orlando
April 30 at Cleveland
May 3 at Orlando
May 5 at Cleveland

West No. 1 (Oklahoma City) vs. West No. 8 (New Orleans)
April 21 at Oklahoma City
April 24 at Oklahoma City
April 27 at New Orleans
April 29 at New Orleans
May 1 at Oklahoma City
May 3 at New Orleans
May 5 at Oklahoma City

West No. 2 (Denver) vs. West No. 7 (L.A. Lakers)
April 20 at Denver
April 22 at Denver
April 25 at L.A. Lakers
April 27 at L.A. Lakers
April 29 at Denver
May 2 at L.A. Lakers
May 4 at Denver

West No. 3 (Minnesota) vs. West No. 6 (Phoenix)
April 20 at Minnesota
April 23 at Minnesota
April 26 at Phoenix
April 28 at Phoenix
April 30 at Minnesota
May 2 at Phoenix
May 4 at Minnesota

West No. 4 (L.A. Clippers) vs. West No. 5 (Dallas)
April 21 at L.A. Clippers
April 23 at L.A. Clippers
April 26 at Dallas
April 28 at Dallas
May 1 at L.A. Clippers
May 3 at Dallas
May 5 at L.A. Clippers







Pro hockey

Here is the Carolina Hurricanes’ NHL playoff pairings and results:

(East 1st round vs. New York Islanders)
April 20 at Carolina
April 22 at Carolina
April 25 at New York
April 27 at New York
April 30 at Carolina
May 2 at New York
May 4 at Carolina












College baseball

Here are the ACC standings through April 14:

Clemson 11-4
Florida State 10-5
N.C. State 10-8
Wake Forest 9-9
Louisville 7-8
Boston College 7-11
Notre Dame 2-16
North Carolina 14-4
Duke 11-7
Virginia 11-7
Virginia Tech 11-7
Georgia Tech 7-8
Miami 6-12
Pittsburgh 4-14

(April 19-21)
Boston College at Notre Dame
Duke at Virginia Tech
Florida State at Wake Forest
Georgia Tech at Virginia
Louisville at Miami
North Carolina at N.C. State
Pittsburgh at Clemson

(April 26-28)
Clemson at Louisville
Florida State at Duke
Miami at Georgia Tech
Virginia at Boston College
Virginia Tech at North Carolina
Wake Forest at Notre Dame
Off – N.C. State, Pittsburgh








Pro baseball

Here is the full Gastonia Baseball Club’s 2024 schedule:

25 So. Maryland
26 So. Maryland
27 So. Maryland
28 So. Maryland
29 York
30 York

3 at Charleston, W.Va.
4 at Charleston, W.Va.
5 at Charleston, W.Va.
7 at Hagerstown
8 at Hagerstown
9 at Hagerstown
10 at York
11 at York
12 at York
14 Charleston, W.Va.
15 Charleston, W.Va.
16 Charleston, W.Va.
17 Lexington
18 Lexington
19 Lexington
21 at Lancaster
22 at Lancaster
23 at Lancaster
24 So. Maryland
25 So. Maryland
26 So. Maryland
27 So. Maryland
28 at Long Island
29 at Long Island
30 at Long Island
31 at Staten Island

1 at Staten Island
2 at Staten Island
4 Staten Island
5 Staten Island
6 Staten Island
7 Long Island
8 Long Island
9 Long Island
11 at Lexington
12 at Lexington
13 at Lexington
14 at Lexington
15 at Lexington
16 at Lexington
18 High Point
19 High Point
20 High Point
21 at Charleston, W.Va.
22 at Charleston, W.Va.
23 at Charleston, W.Va.
25 High Point
26 High Point
27 High Point
28 at Lexington
29 at Lexington
30 at Lexington

2 at High Point
3 at High Point
4 at High Point
5 Lexington
6 Lexington
7 Lexington
9 at Charleston, W.Va.
10 at Charleston, W.Va.
11 at Charleston, W.Va.
12 at Lexington
13 at Lexington
14 at Lexington
16 So. Maryland
17 So. Maryland
18 So. Maryland
19 at Charleston, W.Va.
20 at Charleston, W.Va.
21 at Charleston, W.Va.
23 at High Point
24 at High Point
25 at High Point
26 Charleston, W.Va.
27 Charleston, W.Va.
28 Charleston, W.Va.
30 at High Point
31 at High Point

1 at High Point
2 Lexington
3 Lexington
4 Lexington
6 High Point
7 High Point
8 High Point
9 at So. Maryland
10 at So. Maryland
11 at So. Maryland
13 at High Point
14 at High Point
15 at High Point
16 Lexington
17 Lexington
18 Lexington
20 at High Point
21 at High Point
22 at High Point
23 Lexington
24 Lexington
25 Lexington
27 High Point
28 High Point
29 High Point
30 Hagerstown
31 Hagerstown

1 Hagerstown
2 Hagerstown
3 at So. Maryland
4 at So. Maryland
5 at So. Maryland
6 at So. Maryland
7 at So. Maryland
8 at So. Maryland
10 Charleston, W.Va.
11 Charleston, W.Va.
12 Charleston, W.Va.
13 Charleston, W.Va.
14 Charleston, W.Va.
15 Charleston, W.Va.

Charlotte 5, Syracuse 1: The Knights won their 3rd straight game as Danny Mendick hit his 7th home run of the season and reliever Johan Domínguez went 4 2/3 innings for the victory in the 4th game of the 6-game series. The 5th game is at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Here is the Charlotte Knights 2024 schedule:

Record (8-11)
March 29-31 at Memphis (1-2 – L 5-6, L 3-10, W 6-2)
April 2-7 Norfolk (1-5 – L 6-10, L 11-26, L 8-9, L 10-11 in 10, L 1-13, W 6-2)
April 9-14 at Jacksonville (3-3 – L 1-4, L 1-2, W 6-2, L 5-7, W 11-2, W 9-4)
April 16-21 Syracuse (3-1 – L 2-9, W 4-2, W 5-4, W 5-1)
April 23-28 at Lehigh Valley
April 30-May 5 Memphis
May 7-12 at Gwinnett
May 14-19 Durham
May 21-26 at Nashville
May 28-June 2 Worcester
June 4-9 Jacksonville
June 11-16 at Durham
June 18-23 Gwinnett
June 25-30 at Norfolk
July 1-3 at Jacksonville
July 4-6 Jacksonville
July 9-14 Durham
July 19-21 at Gwinnett
July 23-28 at Nashville
July 30-Aug. 4 Norfolk
Aug. 6-11 at Louisville
Aug. 13-18 Toledo
Aug. 20-25 at Memphis
Aug. 27-Sept. 1 Nashville
Sept. 3-8 at Norfolk
Sept. 10-15 Jacksonville
Sept. 17-22 at Syracuse









Middle school baseball

Gaston County Conference standings (thru April 19):
Stanley 9-0
Belmont 8-0
Chavis 6-2
W.C. Friday 5-3
Mount Holly 5-3
Cramerton 4-3
Holbrook 3-5
Bessemer City 2-5
Southwest 1-7
York Chester 1-8
Grier 0-8

(Friday, Apr. 19:)
Mount Holly 16, Southwest 6

(Monday, Apr. 22:) Belmont at Stanley, Bessemer City at Southwest, Chavis at Mount Holly, Cramerton at Holbrook, W.C. Friday at Grier

(Tuesday, Apr. 23:) Holbrook at Chavis (girls soccer)

(Wednesday, Apr. 24:) Cramerton at Bessemer City

(Thursday, Apr. 25:) Southwest at York Chester, Mount Holly at Belmont, Holbrook at Bessemer City, Grier at Chavis, W.C. Friday at Cramerton, BYE – Stanley






Middle school girls soccer

Gaston County Conference standings (thru April 19):
Belmont 8-0
Cramerton 6-1
Holbrook 6-1
Mount Holly 6-2
Bessemer City 5-2
Chavis 4-3
Stanley 4-5
W.C. Friday 2-6
Grier 2-6
Southwest 0-8
York Chester 0-9

(Friday, Apr. 19:)
Mount Holly 7, Southwest 0

(Monday, Apr. 22:) Belmont at Stanley, Bessemer City at Southwest, Chavis at Mount Holly, Cramerton at Holbrook, W.C. Friday at Grier

(Tuesday, Apr. 23:) Holbrook at Chavis (girls soccer)

(Wednesday, Apr. 24:) Cramerton at Bessemer City

(Thursday, Apr. 25:) Southwest at York Chester, Mount Holly at Belmont, Holbrook at Bessemer City, Grier at Chavis, W.C. Friday at Cramerton, BYE – Stanley







Auto racing

Here is the 2024 NASCAR schedule with date, race and site and winners in parentheses:

Sat. Feb. 3 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, LA Memorial Coliseum (Danny Hamlin)
Thu. Feb. 15 Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona, Daytona Intl Speedway (Tyler Redick)
Thu. Feb. 15 Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 at Daytona, Daytona Intl Speedway (Christopher Bell)
Mon. Feb. 19 Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway (William Byron)
Sun. Feb. 25 Ambetter Health 400, Atlanta Motor Speedway (Daniel Suarez)
Sun. Mar. 3 Pennzoil 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Kyle Larson)
Sun. Mar. 10 Shriners Children’s 500, Phoenix Raceway (Bell-2)
Sun. Mar. 17 Food City 500, Bristol Motor Speedway (Hamlin-2)
Sun. Mar. 24 EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix, Circuit of the Americas (Byron-2)
Sun. Mar. 31 Toyota Owners 400, Richmond Raceway (Hamlin-3)
Sun. Apr. 7 Cook Out 400, Martinsville Speedway (Byron-3)
Sun. Apr. 14 AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400, Texas Motor Speedway (Chase Elliott)
Sun. Apr. 21 GEICO 500, Talladega Superspeedway 3 p.m. Fox/MRN
Sun. Apr. 28 Wurth 400, Dover Motor Speedway 2 p.m. FS1/PRN
Sun. May 5 AdventHealth 400, Kansas Speedway 3 p.m. FS1/MRN
Sun. May 12 Goodyear 400, Darlington Raceway 3 p.m. FS1/MRN
Sun. May 19 NASCAR All-Star Open, North Wilkesboro Speedway 8 p.m. FS1/MRN
Sun. May 19 NASCAR All-Star Race, North Wilkesboro Speedway 8 p.m. FS1/MRN
Sun. May 26 Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway 6 p.m. Fox/PRN
Sun. June 2 Enjoy Illinois 300, World Wide Technology Raceway 3:30 p.m.FS1/MRN
Sun. June 9 Toyota/Save Mart 350, Sonoma Raceway 3:30 p.m.Fox/PRN
Sun. June 16 Iowa Corn 350, Iowa Speedway 7 p.m. USA/MRN
Sun. June 23 Cup Series race at New Hampshire, New Hampshire Motor Speedway 2:30 p.m.USA/PRN
Sun. June 30 Ally 400, Nashville Superspeedway 3:30 p.m.NBC/PRN
Sun. July 7 Grant Park 165, Chicago Street Course 4:30 p.m.NBC/MRN
Sun. July 14 Cup Series Race at Pocono, Pocono Raceway 2:30 p.m.USA/MRN
Sun. July 21 Brickyard 400, Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2:30 p.m.NBC/IMS
Sun. Aug. 11 Cook Out 400, Richmond Raceway 6 p.m. USA/MRN
Sun. Aug. 18 FireKeepers Casino 400, Michigan International Raceway 2:30 p.m.USA/MRN
Sat. Aug. 24 Coke Zero Sugar 400, Daytona International Speedway 7:30 p.m.NBC/MRN
Sun. Sept. 1 Cook Out Southern 500, Darlington Raceway 6 p.m. USA/MRN
(NASCAR playoff race schedule 2024)
Sun. Sept. 8 Quaker State 400, Atlanta Motor Speedway 3 p.m. USA/PRN
Sun. Sept. 15 Go Bowling at the Glen, Watkins Glen International 3 p.m. USA/MRN
Sat. Sept. 21 Bass Pro Shops Night Race, Bristol Motor Speedway 7:30 p.m.USA/PRN
Sun. Sept. 29 Hollywood Casino 400, Kansas Speedway 3 p.m. USA/PRN
Sun. Oct. 6 YellaWood 500, Talladega Superspeedway 2 p.m. NBC/MRN
Sun. Oct. 13 Bank of America Roval 400, Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course 2 p.m. NBC/PRN
Sun. Oct. 20 South Point 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway 2:30 p.m.NBC/PRN
Sun. Oct. 27 Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami, Homestead-Miami Speedway 2:30 p.m.NBC/MRN
Sun. Nov. 3 XFINITY 500, Martinsville Speedway 2 p.m. NBC/MRN
Sun. Nov. 10 NASCAR Cup Series Championship, Phoenix Raceway 3 p.m. NBC/MRN