Johnson City Press Monday, December 22, 2014

Sports Douglas Fritz High schools

Title races shaping up in baseball

April 14th, 2014 7:30 pm by Douglas Fritz

Title races shaping up in baseball

With just a couple of weeks left in the high school baseball season, league title races are taking shape and teams are beginning to seriously jockey for tournament seeding positions.

Here’s a league-by-league look at how things are progressing:

Big Seven

Dobyns-Bennett (18-2) has put together the kind of overall record that shows lockdown stuff at the top of the pitching rotation and plenty of depth.

It’s hard to see Science Hill or Daniel Boone catching the Indians (8-0) during the regular season, although the Hilltoppers (4-2) can make things interesting by winning today at Cardinal Park — if the weather cooperates.

D-B looks like a Class AAA state tournament threat, and Science Hill is in the same conversation. 

Science Hill is still in good position for the No. 2 spot, but the Hilltoppers have two games left next week with Daniel Boone. The Trailblazers are 5-2 in the league, and have already played D-B twice.

David Crockett and Tennessee High appear to be on the short course toward the always tough 4-5 first-round matchup in the district tournament, which will be held at David Crockett’s field in Jonesborough.

Three Rivers

Sullivan South and Unicoi County may not settle this issue in the regular season.

The two teams have strong pitching and good lineups, and have split their regular season encounters — with each team winning on the other’s home field. South has the upper hand because the Blue Devils lost a 1-0 decision to third-place Sullivan East, but the Rebels still have to travel to Bluff City (April 22).

East is still in the title conversation, but can’t afford another league setback and has five conference games remaining.

It’s looking like Elizabethton and Johnson County are staring at the possibility of the 4-5 slot for the district tournament, which will be played at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in Kingsport.

Watauga Valley

It has been a very impressive season for North Greene. The Huskies (17-3) have the third-best record in the state among Class A teams, and they’ve played a fairly robust schedule.

With a 6-0 league mark and a three-game lead in the loss column heading into Monday’s game at Unaka, it looks like North Greene is on the fast track to the regular season title.

Second place is completely up for grabs between Unaka, University High and South Greene. Any of those teams seems to have the ability to make a run fairly deep into postseason play — even threatening to have a one-game shot at reaching the state tournament.

A site for the district tournament has not yet been announced.

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Follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz.

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Baseball games of the week: (Today) Dobyns-Bennett at Science Hill, Happy Valley at Sullivan South, Unaka at North Greene, (Friday) Sullivan South at Daniel Boone; (Monday) Unicoi County at Happy Valley.

It’s always a showdown when the Indians and Hilltoppers get together, but this one has added significance. A win by D-B would give it a three-game lead over Science Hill, along with two head-to-head wins, with just three league games left for the Indians. Therefore, it’s a must-win situation for the Hilltoppers. ...

Unaka will try to keep a fighting chance alive as it takes on the Huskies in the second game of a two-day mini-series. ...

Happy Valley has a chance to show it still belongs in the upper-level Three Rivers Conference conversation despite having a pair of league wins reversed. 

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Science Hill’s loss to Tennessee High prevented the Hilltoppers from moving past Unicoi County for the No. 2 spot in this week’s Prep Top 10 baseball rankings.

Dobyns-Bennett is a solid No. 1, but spots two through four are pretty much up grabs. Unicoi County, Science Hill or Sullivan South could be a legitimate No. 2 on any given day.

Team W-L Prv

1. Dobyns-Bennett 18-2 1

2. Unicoi County 14-2 2

3. Science Hill 17-5 3

4. Sullivan South 13-5 4

5. Daniel Boone 10-7 5

6. Sullivan East 10-8 6

7. Greeneville 12-6 8

8. North Greene 17-3 7

9. David Crockett 7-11 10

10. Happy Valley 6-15 9

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Prep signings: A pair of Daniel Boone athletes made their college choices Monday.

McKenzi Ferguson signed to play softball at Chattanooga State while Autumn Bradshaw selected Lees McRae to continue her basketball career.

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Softball games of the week: (Today) David Crockett at Daniel Boone, Elizabethton at Sullivan East, Happy Valley at Johnson County, (Thursday) University High at David Crockett.

It’s a fairly light week for important conference games, but the Lady Pioneers and Lady Trailblazers figure to have a quite a head-to-head battle on their hands. ...

It’s a challenging week overall for Crockett, which also takes on the area’s top Class A team.

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Everything is pretty much the same in this week’s softball rankings.

Team W-L Prv

1. Unicoi County 18-6 1

2. Daniel Boone 19-8 2

3. Volunteer 20-5 3

4. Greeneville 11-3 4

5. University High 20-4 5

6. Elizabethton 12-5 6

7. Science Hill 14-9 7

8. Happy Valley 10-6 8

9. Dobyns-Bennett 12-10 10

10. David Crockett 9-13 9

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