With the spring baseball season completed for both East Bladen and West Bladen high schools, the Eagles and Knights are moving into the summer season with an abbreviated schedule that, if they choose, could lead to a state title and berth in the 2017 Dixie Youth Baseball Pre-Majors World Series in Alabama.
West Bladen coach Kim Cain took the Knights to three straight World Series competitions as the North Carolina champions before missing out in 2016.
“It’s hard to say whether we’ll compete for a state title again this summer,” Cain said recently. “I’m just not sure what we’ll have.”
The Knights were North Carolina champions and went to the Dixie Youth Pre-Majors World Series in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The summer season is a time for the two schools to give rising seniors, juniors, sophomores and even freshmen a chance to get experience against similar competition.
“Any time we can get them on the field and keep them playing is a good thing,” East Bladen coach Russell Priest said. “The more they play, the better they’ll get.”
Neither Cain or Priest can manage their respective teams until the school year officially ends on Friday, June 9.
West Bladen’s first four games of its 20-game summer schedule were postponed — two on Tuesday against South Columbus because of wet grounds, and two on Thursday against West Columbus because of a scheduling conflict.
That means the Knights will open the summer season next Thursday when they travel to Elizabethtown for a double-header against East Bladen starting at 6 p.m.
The rest of West Bladen’s summer schedule (all five-inning double-headers starting at 6 p.m.) is as follows …
— Monday, June 12: versus St. Pauls
— Tuesday, June 13: at Lumberton
— Thursday, June 15: versus East Bladen
— Monday, June 19: at St. Pauls
— Tuesday, June 20: versus Lumberton
— Thursday June 22: versus South Columbus
— Monday, June 26: at West Columbus
East Bladen, as of press time, had only the two double-headers with West Bladen scheduled.
The Eagles will host the Knights on Thursday with a 6 p.m. starting time, then travel to Dublin for two games on June 15, also a 6 p.m. starting time.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.