Burns baseball, Kings Mountain softball top final rankings

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The 2024 high school baseball and softball seasons are officially in the books, after the NCHSAA state champions were crowned this weekend in Burlington, Durham, Greensboro and Holly Springs.

Here’s a look at how teams from three counties are faring after the completion of a new spring sports campaign.

DREAM DESIGNED: South Brunswick runs off Kings Mountain for the NCHSAA 3A softball championship

STATE-BOUND: Burns baseball, Kings Mountain softball to play for NCHSAA state titles. Here’s how.

Basketball

1. Burns (31-3; NCHSAA 2A runner-up): The Bulldogs won their first 30 games en route to a second straight 2A West title and a berth in the state championship series. Burns’ repeat bid fell short against an opportunistic Greene Central team this weekend in Burlington.

2. Gaston Christian (16-5; NCISAA 3A semifinalist): Set a program high of 16 wins this season, with eventual NCISAA 3A state champion Grace Christian losing in the semifinals. The team included artists from all states, including Meridian Leffew, Aaron Main and David Nicks.

3. North Lincoln (17-8): The Knights finished second in Western Foothills 3A, with four teams recording 15 wins or more. North Lincoln bowed out at West Henderson in Round 2 of the 3A playoffs.

4. Cherryville (10/19): Led by senior pitchers Eli Newsome and Brayden Reynolds, the Ironmen won 10 of their last 13 games en route to a spot in the NCHSAA 1A West semifinals.

5. Koningsberg (17-8): The Mountaineers entered the final week of the season with hopes of a Big South 3A title, led by two of the region’s best hitters, Kandan Zollo and Brayden Patrick. Patrick was also 7-1 as a pitcher with a 1.51 ERA and 98 strikeouts.

6. South Point (15-6; Big South 3A champion): After an 0-3 start, South Point rebounded to win its second straight Big South 3A title. However, the Red Raiders’ season ended prematurely, falling 12-7 to rival Crest in Round 1 of the 3A playoffs.

7. Lincoln Charter (18-8; Catawba Shores 1A/2A champion): Lincoln Charter claimed its fourth consecutive league championship – third in Catawba Shores 1A/2A – with two pitchers with an ERA under 1.00 in Evan Myers and Jacob Smith.

8. East Lincoln (17-8): The Mustangs faded along the way, losing five of their last seven games en route to a 3A first-round loss to Oak Grove.

Softball

1. Kings Mountain (24-3; NCHSAA 3A runner-up): A mix of senior leadership and youthful exuberance helped lead the Lady Mountaineers to their first league championship since 2015 and a berth in the NCHSAA 3A state championship game. Sophomore Madeline Huffman finished the season with 251 strikeouts in 122 1/3 innings pitched.

2. Weapon (17-5): While the streak of Big South 3A titles ended at five this season, the Chargers extended another one with their 17th straight playoff berth. Led by junior pitcher Aidan Ledbetter, Crest allowed a total of 46 runs this spring.

3. Cherryville (22-3; Southern Piedmont 1A/2A champion): The Lady Ironmen claimed their first league title since 2012, in addition to winning a pair of 1A playoff games. Six Cherryville players hit .400 or better this spring.

4. North Lincoln (17-5): The Lady Knights finished the season with 50 extra base hits, including 10 home runs. Senior outfielder Clara Grace Dillinger was responsible for seven of those, part of a season in which she hit .508.

5. Forest View (13-8): Lily Cabe, Kayla Johnson and Blair Riley each hit above .400 for the Jaguars this season, combining for nine home runs, 26 doubles and 72 RBIs. Forestview won thirteen games for the third season in a row.

6. Lincoln Charter (15-7; Catawba Shores 1A/2A champion): Despite winning the Catawba Shores 1A/2A title, a late-season swoon saw the Eagles lose three of their four games, including a 2A loss in the first round of the playoffs to West Caldwell .

7. Gaston Christian (10-10; NCISAA Division II runner-up): Led by eighth-graders Lana Hanson and Bailey Livengood, the Eagles won 10 of their last 15 games, advancing to the NCISAA Division II championship series.

8. East Gaston (12-9): The Lady Warriors finished with a winning record for the first time in twelve seasons, which also happened to be the last time they won a playoff game before this season.