The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released its softball playoff pairings Monday afternoon and the McDowell Lady Titans learned their postseason fate as they will travel to Lake Norman tonight for a first-round matchup (6 p.m.).
McDowell (11-11), seeded 23rd in the West Regional bracket returns to state playoff action for the ninth consecutive year and will battle against the Lady Wildcats, seeded seventh in the West Regional bracket.
The 2019 campaign which featured a heavy non-conference slate, started on a slow note for the Lady Titans as they dropped three straight games and five of their first six contests overall. However, a run of six straight victories got McDowell back above the .500 mark.
It all started with an 8-1 win against Watauga in Boone on March 12 and it included a 7-6 extra-inning win at home against perennial power Alexander Central. That streak in the middle of the season helped catapult McDowell to a third-place finish overall in Northwestern 3A/4A Conference at 9-5 and the automatic state playoff bid. McDowell hosted the NWC tournament last week and was defeated by Alexander Central 4-0 in the semifinals on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Lake Norman (18-7) is coming off a second-place finish in the I-Meck Conference behind league champion Mooresville. The Lady Wildcats had a streak of nine straight wins during the first half of the season. So far in postseason play Lake Norman is 2-1, with their loss coming to Mooresville in the I-Meck Conference tournament championship, a 3-2 contest at Mooresville.
Tuesday’s winner will advance to the second round on Friday at Hickory Ridge (16-6).