7-30-21 roundup: Legion baseball and softball, High school football, College football, Pro basketball and baseball

By Richard Walker

Rowan County meets Fuquay-Varina at 4 p.m. and Cherryville meets Wilmington at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Cherryville’s Fraley Field in the semifinals of the North Carolina American Legion state baseball tournament.

Saturday’s winners will advance to Sunday’s championship game that sends its winner to the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Asheboro that starts on Wednesday.

Fuquay-Varina had clinched the Stripes division and Cherryville the Stars division with Thursday victories while Rowan County and Wilmington needed Friday wins to advance to the semifinals.

In Friday’s third and final day of pool play, Rutherford County knocked off previously unbeaten Fuquay-Varina 15-5, Rowan County defeated Wayne County 7-4, Cherryville outlasted Port City 12-9 and Wilmington rolled past Kannapolis 15-1.

Here is the full tournament schedule and results for the 2021 state championship:

Wednesday, July 28
Rowan County 3, Port City 2
Wilmington 6, Rutherford County 3
Fuquay-Varina 10, Kannapolis 2
Cherryville 8, Wayne County 2

Thursday, July 29
Kannapolis 9, Rutherford County 4
Wayne County 7, Port City 6
Fuquay-Varina 11, Wilmington 3
Cherryville 17, Rowan County 1 (6 innings)

Friday, July 30
Rutherford County 15, Fuquay-Varina 5
Rowan County 7, Wayne County 4
Cherryville 12, Port City 9
Wilmington 15, Kannapolis 1

Saturday, July 31
Fuquay-Varina vs. Rowan County, 4 p.m.
Cherryville vs. Wilmington, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 1
Championship game at time to be determined

(Stars division)
Cherryville 3-0
Rowan County 2-1
Wayne County 1-2
Port City 0-3

(Stripes division)
Fuquay-Varina 2-1
Wilmington 2-1
Kannapolis 1-2
Rutherford County 1-2





Legion softball

Pairings have been announced for the N.C. American Legion softball state tournament that will be played at Crest High School.

Area champions Wayne County (1), Robeson County (2), Davidson County (3) and Hickory (4) join host Shelby Post 82 in the five-team field for the double-elimination tournament.

Complete pairings follow:

Monday, Aug. 2

Game 1 – Hickory vs Davidson County, 2:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Wayne County vs. Robeson County, 5 p.m.
Game 3 – Shelby vs. Game 1 winner

Tuesday, Aug. 3

Game 4 – Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 5 – Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 3:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 4

Game 7 – Game 6 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 10 a.m.
Game 8 – Championship game: Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 1 p.m.




College football

Former East Gaston High standout Robert Washington has been named a preseason Pioneer Football League running back for Valparaiso.

A 2016 East Gaston High graduate, Washington rushed for 653 yards in six games to lead the PFL in rushing in the spring. Washington was named PFL offensive player of the year, the first Crusaders’ player to earn such an honor.




High school football

Friday Nights in Carolina announced its preseason power rankings for all four classifications on Thursday. Here are each of the preseason top 15 rankings:

Class 4A
1. Charlotte Chambers (formerly Vance)
2. Greensboro Grimsley
3. Rolesville
4. Charlotte Catholic
5. Huntersville Hough
6. Matthews Butler
7. Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons
8. Winston-Salem Mount Tabor
9. Cleveland
10. Charlotte Myers Park
11. Wake Forest
12. New Bern
13. Raleigh Leesville Road
14. Kernersville Glenn
15. Charlotte Providence

Class 3A
1. Greensboro Dudley
2. Lee County
3. Eastern Alamance
4. Havelock
5. Crest
6. East Lincoln
7. Fayetteville Terry Sanford
8. South Point
9. Southern Durham
10. Greenville Rose
11. Statesville
12. Kings Mountain
13. Scotland County
14. North Davidson
15. Southern Nash

Class 2A
1. Salisbury
2. Monroe
3. Reidsville
4. Shelby
5. Burns
6. St. Pauls
7. Washington
8. Clinton
9. Burlington Cummings
10. Hendersonville
11. Brevard
12. East Surry
13. Maiden
14. Edenton Holmes
15. Wallace-Rose Hill

Class 1A
1. Tarboro
2. Murphy
3. Robbinsville
4. Mitchell
5. Mountain Heritage
6. Pinetown Northside
7. Draughn
8. Thomas Jefferson
9. Eastern Randolph
10. Pamlico County
11. Mount Airy
12. Mountain Island Charter
13. Northampton County
14. North Rowan
15. Polk County






Pro basketball

Thursday’s NBA Draft added five players to the Charlotte Hornets’ roster, including a veteran trade acquisition, while also three more N.C. high school products were drafted by other NBA teams.

Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak with Kai Jones (upper left), James Bouknight (upper right) and J.T. Thor (lower middle) during introductory news conference on Friday.

The Hornets added Connecticut guard James Bouknight (No. 11 overall selection), Texas center Kai Jones (No. 19), Auburn center J.T. Thor (No. 37) and Scottie Lewis (No. 56) in the draft and acquired former Duke standout Mason Plumlee from the Detroit Pistons in a pre-draft trade; The Detroit deal shipped No. 57 to Detroit and brought back Plumlee and the No. 37 pick that became Thor and Jones’ No. 19 selection was acquired from the New York Knicks for a future first-round pick.

The Hornets introduced Bouknight, Jones and Thor to the media on Friday and revealed uniform numbers for Bouknight (5), Jones (23) and Thor (21).

Additionally, three more N.C. high school products were selected – Memphis selected Trey Murphy out of Virginia with the No. 17 overall pick, Philadelphia chose Jaden Springer out of Tennessee at No. 28 and Milwaukee picked Isaiah Todd out of the G League at No. 31. The No. 31 pick was later traded to Indiana.

Murphy is a 2018 Cary Academy graduate who played at Rice (2018-20) and Virginia (2020-21).

Springer played at Charlotte’s Rocky River High from 2016-18, graduated from Bradenton, Fla., IMG Academy in 2020 and played one year at Tennessee (2020-21).

And Todd played at Raleigh’s Trinity Christian (2018-19) and Word of God (2019-20) before spending the 2020-21 season in the G League.

Another N.C. prep product – 2017 Raleigh Enloe graduate Moses Wright – signed a free agent deal with Toronto after the 2021 ACC player of the year from Georgia Tech went undrafted on Thursday.

Entering the 2021-22 season, 192 former N.C. high school players have played in the NBA.




Pro baseball

The Gastonia Honey Hunters opened their 10-game road trip with a 7-5 victory at Long Island.

The Honey Hunters, who have won three straight games, visit Long Island again on Saturday night.