By Thomas Grant Jr.
The regular season in high school spring sports is drawing to a close.
Teams in soccer, softball and baseball have either won and closing in on region titles, while the lacrosse playoffs kicked off for five teams.
Top-ranked and two-time defending Class 4A champion Chapin boys and second-ranked Lexington girls clinched region titles this past Friday.
The Eagles defeated archrival A.C. Flora 3-3 to improve to 7-0 in region play with one game left Tuesday against Lower Richland. It was also the seventh straight shutout win for Chapin.
Chapin joins Gray Collegiate as Lexington County region champions. The Class 2A top-ranked War Eagles is looking to complete an undefeated season in Region 3-2A and were closing in on 20 wins for the first time.
On the girls’ soccer, the Lady Wildcats continued their run of dominance in region play. This past Friday’s 4-0 over Dutch Fork was the team’s 43rd consecutive victory.
Senior Mary Katherine Waters posted a hat trick in the win, which clinched a fourth consecutive region title and second straight in Region 5-5A. It was also the 360th career win for head coach Curtis Fryland, second most in S.C. High School League history.
Lexington faces Blythewood Tuesday and closes out the season with three straight home games. It ends the season with a “1 Versus 2” matchup against Clover.
Meanwhile, the Chapin girls are locked in a 3-team race with A.C. Flora and Dreher. This past Friday’s 3-0 loss to A.C. Flora dropped it ½ game behind Dreher for the top spot.
The Lady Eagles closed out region play Tuesday against Lower Richland and travels to Lexington Friday.
In Region 5-3A, Swansea faces Brookland-Cayce Tuesday in a first-place matchup at “Fort Knox”. The Lady Tigers are riding an 8-game winning streak led by the Midlands’ leading scorers Bri Reynolds and Jane Ashley Meredith.
Gray Collegiate Academy clinched a second straight Region 3-2A title this past week.
The Lady War Eagles have won 20 consecutive region games the past two seasons.
Ironically, defending Class 5A Lower State champion White Knoll has also tallied the same streak of region wins entering Tuesday and were two wins shy of winning a second straight Region 5-5A title.
Gilbert is riding a 15-game winning as it looked to clinch the Region 5-3A title with a victory Tuesday over Edisto.
Class 4A number-one Chapin had clinched the Region 5-4A title, while region title races involving Chronicle Country teams could be decided this week.
Lexington can clinch the Region 5-5A title with wins at home Monday against White Knoll and Wednesday against Blythewood. River Bluff was locked in a 4-team race for second place in the region with Dutch Fork, Spring Valley and Blythewood.
A winning streak had Airport in position to claim the Region 4-4A title with a victory at South Aiken Tuesday. Batesburg-Leesville is locked in a 3-team race with Barnwell and Bamberg-Ehrhardt for the Region 5-2A title.
Five teams began the quest to play for the state championships in W.C. Hawkins Stadium at Irmo High School on April 28.
In boys’ action, second-seed Dutch Fork opened play in the Lower State against Socastee Tuesday, the winner facing either Byrnes or Nation Ford. Lexington opened at open Tuesday against Spartanburg, the winner slated to meet Mauldin or J.L. Mann.
River Bluff opened play in the Upper State at Region 5-5A rival Blythewood.
The girls’ playoffs had Dutch Fork open play at Fort Mill. Class 4A runner-up Chapin received a first-round bye in the Upper State bracket and will face the A.C. Flora/Greenville winner Thursday at home.