The Statesville Owls are returning to Southern Collegiate Baseball League playoffs for the first time since 2015.
The Owls closed the regular season Thursday night with a 5-3 victory at the Lake Norman Copperheads, raising their overall record to 19-19.
At 17-19 in the SCBL, the Owls tied the Copperheads for fifth place in the league. They earned the No. 5 seed thanks to a 4-1 record in head-to-head meetings with Lake Norman.
Statesville travels to Lenoir for Sunday’s opening round. Awaiting them at Walker Stadium will be the fourth-seeded Oilers (16-17). Game time is 7 p.m.
The winner moves on to face the top-seeded Piedmont Pride (25-10) Monday night in Rock Hill, S.C. The Statesville-Lenoir loser isn’t knocked out but will have a tough row to hoe to come back in the double-elimination playoffs.
The other side of the SCBL bracket pits No. 3 seed Carolina Vipers (23-15) against the sixth-seeded Copperheads. The winner of that game will play Monday night at Moor Park against the Mooresville Spinners (25-12).
This playoff appearance ends a four-year drought for the Owls, who didn’t field a team in 2016 and ’17. Last season, they were not affiliated with a league and were not playoff eligible despite a 21-5 record.
The postseason has not been kind to the Owls. They are 1-6 all-time in the SCBL playoffs. The lone win came in 2012 when Statesville eliminated defending champion Pineville 1-0 in the first round before losing in the SCBL semifinals to the Carolina Chaos.