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Whiteville baseball out to win 1-A state title + athletic ceremony at Cape Fear Academy

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- The baseball season for Whiteville High School will conclude this weekend at Five County Stadium in Zebulon. Parents, coaches and the Whiteville players all hope for the same result Whiteville had two years ago when they played in the state championship series in Zebulon. Click the play video icon to see WWAY's report on the Wolfpack as they prepare for the 1-A state championship series against East Surry.

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WHITEVILLE, NC (NCHSAA) -- Some of the top players and teams in North Carolina high school baseball will be trying to add hardware to their trophy cases this weekend in the 98th annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association state baseball championship series.

The 1-A and 3-A series will get underway on Friday at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats, while the 2-A and 4-A classifications will get their series going on Friday at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. All the series are best-of-three games, and each of the teams in the finals survived best-of-three regional championship series.

In Zebulon, the first game on Friday will start the 1-A series between Whiteville (24-5) and unbeaten East Surry (30-0). Whiteville and East Surry both have great traditions. Whiteville is in the finals for the ninth time with five previous titles, while East Surry is led by veteran head coach Barry Hall, who recorded his 700th career victory earlier this season.

Zack Pait is one of Whiteville's top hitters (.337, 5 HR, 32 RBI) and also is 11-2 with a 1.08 ERA while on the mound. East Surry is batting .355 as a team, and one of the big threats for the Cards is Madison Chilton (.455, 5 HR, 25 RBI).

The second game Friday night at Five County Stadium will open the 3-A series between Monroe Piedmont (21-8) and Hampstead Topsail (19-8). Piedmont won last year's 2-A title over North Brunswick before moving up in realignment. Seniors Hunter Jones and Nigel Hester lead the Panthers at the plate. East Carolina signee Trent Hansley paces Topsail both in hitting (.414, 8 HR, 23 RBI) and on the mound (7-4, 1.53 ERA, 104 strikeouts in 64 innings).

Action in Greensboro gets underway with the 4-A opener between Richmond Senior (23-7-1) and West Forsyth (27-5). Richmond is in the finals for the fourth time overall but first since 2000, while West qualified for the finals for the first time since 2002.

One of the Richmond Raider standouts is Cody Leviner, who is batting .355 and also has been tough on the mound (9-2, 1.61 ERA, 68 strikeouts in 74 innings). Alex Vanderstock swings a big bat for the Titans (.333, 8 HR, 24 RBI) and seven West players will continue playing in college, including Michael Bates (12-1, 1.28 ERA), who will play at UNC-Greensboro.

In the 2-A series, Claremont Bunker Hill (26-5) makes its first baseball championship visit, against the Raiders of Midway (25-4), who won the 1-A title last year but also moved up in realignment. Senior Colton Chapman and junior Cameron Chapman do a lot for the Bears, with Colton batting .453 with nine homers while also sporting a 12-1 mound mark with a 1.08 ERA. Midway's Austin Hardison is batting .426 and Dylan Hardison is unbeaten on the mound at 9-0 with a 0.92 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 45 innings.

The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are serving as host city sponsors for the games at Five County.

Click the play video icon to see WWAY's report on the Wolfpack as they prepare for the 1-A state championship series against East Surry.

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Click the play video icon to see WWAY's report on Wednesday's college commitment athletic ceremony.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Cape Fear Academy held a college athletic commitment ceremony on Wednesday afternoon. We've posted information below on the five student-athletes.

Ross Robison - UNC-Wilmington - Men's Golf

Robison signed his National Letter for Intent (NLI) as a scholarship athlete for UNCW this past November. Ross is a five-time all-state and all-conference performer. He was the spring 2014 CFIC Conference Player of the Year. He is a two-time Star News Player of the year. Ross is currently ranked 67th in the Golf Weekly Junior Boy's National Ranking for the Class of 2014 in the US. He is currently ranked 106 in the Polo Junior Boy's National Ranking for the Class of 2014 in the US. His home course is Cape Fear Country Club.

From UNCW Coach Matt Clark: "Ross will be a great addition to the UNCW golf team. He is a very talented young man with dreams of taking the Seahawk Golf Program to new heights. I love his passion for the game and I look forward to watching Ross grow on and off the golf course over the next four years."

Rebecca McLean - Appalachian State University - Field Hockey (Defender)

McLean will play for the Mountaineers in the fall after being named All-Star during her junior and senior season at Cape Fear Academy. McLean was also the team MVP in 2012 and 2013, while also recording 11 goals and 11 assists in 22 games. She played club ball for the Charlotte Ambush under Miki Osherow.

From Appalachian State Coach Brandi Alexander Kist: "Rebecca is a well-rounded player with the ability to play many positions. With her strong defensive presence and field awareness, she will be able to assist the team in the defensive end as well as through the midfield."

Brooke Graham - Wofford College - Women's Tennis

Graham is four-time NCISAA all-state performer, an NCISAA individual state champion, and a five-time all-conference performer for Cape Fear Academy. Brooke has played several years in the ACE program at the Country Club of Landfall.

From Wofford Coach Krissy Hall: "We are so excited that Brooke will be joining the Wofford Family. Her work ethic and positive attitude are second to none. We look forward to all the great things that she will accomplish on the court, in the classroom, and in the community over the next four years."

Brian Plazzo - University of Tampa - Men's Lacrosse (Goalie)

Plazzo is a two-time NCISAA All-State goalie selection. Plazzo was also the team MVP in 2014, while being named ECLC Conference Player of the Year. He played club ball for Cape Fear Lacrosse Association Shamrocks under Coach Dennis LeBaron and Coach Dave Kintzer.

John Patrick Talbert - University of Tampa - Men's Lacrosse (Defender)

Talbert is a two-time ECLC all-conference selection. Talbert received the Coach's Award in 2014. He played club ball for Cape Fear Lacrosse Association under Dennis LeBaron and Coach Dave Kintzer

From University of Tampa Assistant Coach Chris Panos: Brian and JP will join over 100 new and returning players this September in trying out for the University of Tampa lacrosse teams. Tampa will carry 45-50 players on the Varsity team (which plays a 15-game regular season schedule) and 35 players on the JV team (which plays a 12-game regular season schedule). This is a very competitive program as Tampa reached the NCAA Division II Final Four in only their third year of existence. This is a young and growing program.

Click the play video icon to see WWAY's report on Wednesday's college commitment athletic ceremony.

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WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) -- UNCW freshman standout Casey Golden was named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball after helping the Seahawks to the Colonial Athletic Association tournament for the 29th consecutive season.

Golden, who was a member of the CAA's All-Rookie squad, saw action in 55 games, including 53 starts all in centerfield as a freshman. The Siler City, N.C., native batted in the leadoff spot in the UNCW lineup in 45 games.

Golden hit .269 and led the lineup with 223 at bats. His compiled a .404 slugging percentage on the strength of 12 doubles, three triples and four home runs. He scored a team-high 35 runs and knocked in 29 runs, ranking third on the team. He also tied for the team lead nine stolen bases. Defensively, Golden committed just one error in 137 total chances for UNCW. Recruited as an infielder, Golden quickly settled into centerfield and started the final 53 games of the season.
Golden becomes UNCW's ninth Freshman All-America with the last being Corey Dick in 2012.

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WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) -- Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, UNCW Head Volleyball Coach Amy Bambenek has announced a 2014 schedule that includes 31 contests - 14 home matches, 10 road contests and seven neutral-site tests.

The Seahawks will face a challenging schedule that features four teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament as well as four squads that ranked in the top-75 of the final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Also included on the schedule are matches with state foes Campbell, UNC Charlotte, Davidson, Colonial Athletic Association newcomer Elon, High Point and NC State.

"This is certainly an ambitious schedule that will test our team in many ways, but I know they will be eager to step up to the challenge of a competitive schedule," said Bambenek. "The strength of our preseason tournaments will indeed give us a platform to help prepare the team for conference play, and the CAA will once again be a battle to earn a top-six bid into the conference championship.

"Knowing the path that lies ahead this fall has always given our players great motivation to improve and stay dedicated over the summer months so we are 100 percent prepared to play fast and at a high level."

For the second time in three seasons, the Seahawks open the regular season at home as they entertain Coastal Carolina, Eastern Washington, Fairfield and NC State in the UNCW Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire Classic on Aug. 29-31. The Seahawks will play all four teams during the three-day event, squaring off against Coastal Carolina and NCAA Tournament qualifier Fairfield on Aug. 29, NC State on Aug. 30 and Eastern Washington on Aug. 31.

September begins with a trip to Greenville for the East Carolina Tournament on Sept. 5-6, where the Seahawks face Morgan State, Norfolk State and Tennessee Tech at the two-day event.

The Seahawks take a break from tournament play when they host longtime rival Campbell on Sept. 10 in Hanover Hall. The two teams have met in 10 of the last 11 seasons and this year's installment in the series will be the 35th meeting overall.

UNCW returns to the road when Bambenek's club takes part in Davidson's Wildcat Classic on Sept. 12-13. It will be a Tar Heel State affair as the Seahawks square off against the host Wildcats, UNC Charlotte and High Point.

Tournament play comes to a close for the Seahawks the following weekend in the Hokie Invitational on Sept. 20-21 in Blacksburg, Va. In addition to the host Hokies, UNCW will face Marshall and 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Radford.

CAA play gets underway the final weekend of September with home matchups against Northeastern (Sept. 26) and Hofstra (Sept. 28) and concludes the second weekend of November with road dates against Towson (Nov. 14) and Delaware (Nov. 15). The CAA schedule will once again be a round robin format that sees the Seahawks play all eight league opponents in home-and-home matchups.

UNCW takes one break from league play for its final non-conference contest on Oct. 8 against 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifier Hampton.

The top six teams in the CAA standings will advance to the 2014 CAA Volleyball Championships, scheduled for Nov. 22-24 at the home of the regular season champion.

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