One more week is left in American Legion baseball's regular season, and the playoff picture is starting to come into focus.
But there is still a bit of business to take care of. Chester and Fort Mill have made the playoffs, which begin on July 14. Rock Hill appears to have a lock on the league's third and final berth, but that's not assured.
Entering play Thursday, Rock Hill was 7-7, Clover 4-8. If Clover were to win its four remaining games and Rock Hill were to lose its final two games, Clover would be 8-8 and Rock Hill 7-9.
The odds are heavily stacked in Rock Hill's favor. Post 34 makes it with one win or a Clover loss. Clover has three games left after last night's game against Lancaster -- at Chester on Monday and a home doubleheader against Fort Mill on Tuesday. Rock Hill has two games remaining, Lancaster at home on Monday and at Chester on Wednesday.
Each team in League V plays 16 games against each other. Heading into the final week, Chester also has four games left, while Lancaster and Fort Mill have three each.
The top three teams in each of the state's eight leagues make the playoffs, and locally that means all but two of League V's squads are headed to the postseason.
The local teams will be matched up against League VI, which has been decided. Spartanburg was first, Gaffney second and Inman third.
The best-of-five format is used in the first two rounds. When they are concluded, the three Upper State champions advance and a special playoff is staged to determine the fourth team for the state tournament in Florence.
The three losers from the second round will have a play-in for the final berth. The highest-seeded of the three gets a bye. The other two play and the winner has to play the team that got the bye. The winner of that game moves on.
"That way we get stronger teams, rather than using the top four from each league as we did several years ago,'' said Buck Schwing, athletics director of Post 34. "We changed that three years ago to the top three teams from each league and a play-in winner. The change has made our playoffs more competitive.''
Because Florence is the host team for the state tournament, it gets an automatic bid and there's no play-in game in the Lower State.
LEAGUE V STANDINGS
• Chester (4): Rock Hill, Clover, Fort Mill, Lancaster
• Fort Mill (3): Clover (2), Chester
• Rock Hill (2): Lancaster, Chester
• Clover (3): Fort Mill (2), Chester
• Lancaster (3): Rock Hill, Clover, Chester