MOREHEAD CITY — The Marlins’ road to the Petitt Cup Final goes through the Wilson Tobs.
Last year, Morehead City beat the Tobs 7-6 to advance to its first Coastal Plain League championship.
The defending champ again went through Wilson in the divisional final Tuesday night with a 4-1 win.
“That was fun,” Marlins skipper Jesse Lancaster said. “Obviously, just a really good ballgame. Wilson is a good club, and we knew they were going to be competitive. I’m really proud of the guys, and I’m glad we came out on top.”
The collegiate wood-bat squad will take on the Macon Bacon (30-21) in a three-game series with games scheduled for Thursday at Macon and Saturday and Sunday (if needed) at Big Rock Stadium.
OCEAN — The Croatan volleyball team is under new leadership on and off the court, but familiar faces still run the show.
First-year coach Lindsey Gurley is running the program after spending seven years assisting Erica Heimforth. She has a strong class of seniors back to lead a team that finished last season 13-4 overall and 7-0 in the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference which was cut short because of Hurricane Florence.
For Gurley, the change in position is more about logistics, especially at the start of the season.
Gurley has good numbers this year with 15 on the varsity squad and 14 designated for jayvee. The strong numbers will be a plus as the Cougars look to capture their third conference championship in five years. They won last season after finishing second to Dixon in both 2017 and 2016.
“I feel like we have had a target on our backs for a while, even when we finished second in the conference,” Gurley said. “That’s the mentality we bring to every practice. We’re going to make mistakes, but we have to be on top of everything because other teams are gunning for us.”
MOREHEAD CITY — After graduating only two seniors in the spring, the West Carteret volleyball program returns experience-laden with eyes on a 3A Coastal Conference championship.
Eleven-year coach Michael Turner is back to lead a varsity roster stocked with 15 accomplished players, including eight seniors, all looking to improve upon last year’s 8-5 overall finish and 4-1 league record.
So far, after a full week of practice and a summer full of camps and open gyms, the 2019 group checks off all the boxes for Turner.
“I think we have the chance to be really good,” he said. “The kids are so good, and they all get along. That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you get these perfect storms when talent, chemistry and work ethic all come together. This group has that right now. They show all the precursors of having a special season.”
The 3A program had a whopping 42 try out with only 12 retained on jayvee and 15 on varsity.
BEAUFORT — Lauren Morgan hopes a strong sophomore class from last year’s successful JV volleyball team can have a meaningful impact on the 2019 varsity.
The junior varsity won eight straight games at one point and finished 9-3 after playing for the league championship in the final match of the season, falling to Croatan 25-19, 25-18.
“We’ve got a lot of young players who are growing into their positions,” the second-year coach said. “They’re learning them and taking pride in being good at them. A lot of them play travel ball, and you can see the improvement from those year-round players.”
The varsity struggled in 2018, going 2-11 overall and 1-6 in the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference.
The second-year coach saw early signs of the program’s improvement at the East Carolina University camp when she took 23 players with her. Only eight attended last summer.
PELETIER — Saturday night’s Solid Rock Carriers 150 at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway will feature the most competitive Limited Late Model field of the season.
In addition, the track’s three most dominant competitors are hoping to hold off the outsiders and take home the $10,000 prize.
Chris Burns, Brandon Clements and T.J. Barron have a combined 17 Late Model wins, seven of which have come this season, and have emerged as the three drivers who will battle for this season’s championship. However, Saturday night will see a pause in the title race as each driver sets their sights on just one goal – victory and a $10,000 payday.
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