Braves-Sharks showdown headlines big sports Friday

Friday marks the start of one of the biggest high school sports weekends of the year on the Grand Strand, with several key baseball, softball and soccer showdowns on the schedule.

All eyes will be on the diamonds of St. James High as Socastee’s baseball and softball squads visit to decide the Region VIII-AAA regular-season championships. Both games start at 6 p.m.

The Braves and Sharks have played twice already this season, with Socastee winning the first regular-season meeting in convincing fashion, then blowing out St. James again in last Friday’s finals of the Mingo Bay Classic. But the Braves’ loss to North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday set the stage for the winner-take-all affair tonight.

The stakes are a lot lower at Carolina Forest, where the Panthers were eliminated from playoff contention Thursday night without taking the field. West Florence defeated Sumter 1-0 to secure the third and final spot in Region VI-AAAA, turning tonight’s game against Conway from a win-and-get-in matchup to a season finale. The Panthers played in the Lower State championship game last year.

The Conway and Carolina Forest softball teams also meet at 6, with the Lady Panthers looking to cap a perfect season in region play.

The Myrtle Beach High baseball and softball teams will wait a day before playing their regular-season finales against North Myrtle Beach. The Lady Chiefs and Seahawks will be vying for the fourth and final playoff spot.

On the soccer pitch Friday, North Myrtle Beach will play host to St. James, whose girls team is trying to stay undefeated against region foes. Carolina Forest hosts West Florence with the boys region title on the line.

On Saturday the action moves to the track with the Horry County Championships, then the Region VI-AAAA meet will be held at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium on Monday.

Photo courtesy of Owens Designs

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