1. Science Hill
3. Daniel Boone
4. Tennessee High
6. David Crockett
Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett tied for last year's Big Seven Conference baseball title and most of the league's coaches feel they will be the teams to beat again this season.
Although the Hilltoppers' 2017 run ended with a loss to Tennessee High in the District 1-AAA tournament, they are a slight favorite this season based on the their pitching depth.
Science Hill returns a pair of All-Conference players from a year ago with shortstop David Bryant and pitcher Brandon Feathers. Others in the Science Hill bullpen include: Jackson Hill, Garrett Wilkins, Garrett Stiltner and Josh Francisco.
Catchers include Zach Copenhaver and Ben Edwards, whose versatility allows him to play wherever needed.
The infield features Colton Keller at first base and Cade McCoy, who fills at different positions. Outfielders include Ben Grable, also the lead-off batter, Chance Hall, Matthew Levi and Caleb Marmo.
Dobyns-Bennett made it to the state tournament and won a game in Murfreesboro last season, but the Indians were hard hit by graduation.
Isaac Whitehead returns as the only every day starter, but moves from second base to shortstop.
Will Gladson saw quite a few innings at catcher, while Canon Ferrell and Max Everett played some in the outfield.
There is a lot of pitching back from last year's team, and Everett is one of four seniors who saw significant innings last year. The others were Tanner Doran, Jeremiah Ball and Matt Taylor. Junior Brogen Beckner and sophomore Jackson McDavid are being counted on, as his Aiden Scanlen, who is expected to get lots of innings.
The Trailblazers lost in the District 1-AAA tournament a year ago, and they have just three seniors on the roster, but the coaches believe they offer the stiffest challenge to the top two teams.
It's largely because of the 1-2 pitching combination of Matt Cox and Hunter Adams. The rotation also includes Chase Chandler, Ben Allen and Brady Rogers. The closer is Cade Elliott, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, who also plays at first base and in the outfield and is the clean-up hitter.
Brody Goodman is the lead-off, followed by Cox and all-conference shortstop Eric Rigsby. Others who fill out the lineup are Adams, Zach Taylor, Logan Rivers, Robbie Storen and Allen, the catcher.
James Richardson, Easton Harrell, Zach Saul and KC Vicchio are others expected to see significant time.
Conference newcomer Cherokee also has quite the 1-2 punch with Nick Collins, who pounds the strike zone and three-year starter Ethan Crowder.
The infield is comprised of Dylan Johnson at catcher, Ethan Bledsoe at first base, Jessee Forgety at second, Collins at shortstop and Conner Burke at third base.
Outfielders include Ryan Morgan in left field, Steve Owen in center field and Japheth Curpsinger in right field. Owen is the closer, which means Trey Courtney usually fills in. Owen is also lead-off, batter while Curpsinger wields a big bat as a power hitter.
The Pioneers lost in District 1-AAA tournament and lost Big 7 player of year Will Leonard to graduation.
Crockett does return three starters including Tennessee Tech signee Will Long, who hit .354 last year. Tanner Treadway was a pitcher and an outfielder with .419 average. Devin Foster was a pitcher and an outfielder with .290 average.
There is also senior Brodie Fox, who has played multiple positions, and is going to Milligan. Other seniors include first baseman Luke Larkins, outfielder James Broyles and infielders Jacob Jenkins and Logan Miller.
The Falcons lost in the first round of last year's District 1-AAA tournament, but they have 10 seniors and four returning starters.
The returning starters are third baseman Gabe Musick, centerfielder Heath Douthat, rightfielder Gabe Bass and second baseman Ethan Sargent.
Top pitchers are: Noah Johnson, Musick, Sargent, Eli Dixon, Ethan Barrett and Douthat.
Noah Johnson, Seth Kiersey, Caleb Spears are infielders, who could make an impact, along with first basemen Alex Wilson and Eli Dixon. Rylan Greene and Barrett round out the lineup at left field.