As far as schedules go, it would be difficult to encounter anything tougher than the one facing Daniel Boone’s baseball team this week.
Today’s game is at Science Hill. Wednesday is at Sullivan South. Thursday is at home against the Hilltoppers. And Friday is at home against Unicoi County.
Science Hill is 22-6 overall, South is 18-6 and Unicoi is 15-5. It’s an opportunity for the Trailblazers to establish themselves as one of the area’s best teams, but also the threat of getting their confidence shaken late in the regular season.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Boone head coach Rob Hoover.
One of the Science Hill games was moved because of Daniel Boone’s trip to play in Myrtle Beach, S.C., while the South game was postponed earlier because of rain.
With a 6-2 record in the Big Seven Conference heading into Monday’s game against Volunteer, Boone (14-8) is in the mix for a high league finish. Therefore, Hoover will have to use his top pitchers for the Science Hill games.
“Conference games take precedence over anything else,” said Hoover. “All of our focus is trying to finish as high as we can in the league and set ourselves up for the district. We’ve tried to prepare our pitching staff. We have scheduled tough all year long.”
And Boone’s schedule usually includes tough non-league opponents like the Rebels and Blue Devils.
“We usually try to schedule Unicoi every year, but it’s rare when we can throw one of our top guys against them,” said Hoover.
One good thing for Boone as it takes on this stretch is a team strength. Consistent hitting has been a weapon, and that should help when going deep into the pitching staff. As a team, Boone is hitting .359 with 46 doubles in 22 games. The Trailblazers have scored 175 runs for an average of eight per game.
“I think we’ve been pretty consistent offensively,” said Hoover. “We’ve really swung the bat well.”
Daniel Cox leads the way with a .486 batting average. Josh Bacon is hitting at a .477 clip while Cameron Clabough and Dustin Chandler are both batting .413.
On the mound, Cox is 5-1 with an ERA of 3.54 while Brandon Davis is 4-1 with a 2.33 ERA.
Here are the sites for the upcoming district softball tournaments:
1-AAA — Daniel Boone’s field in Gray. Begins May 2 or May 3.
1-AA — Sullivan North’s field in Kingsport. Begins May 2 or May 3.
1- A — Unaka’s field in Elizabethton. Begins May 3.
Daniel Boone’s Rick Wagner is trying to get the wheels off the ground for a softball Hall of Fame for the Trailblazers. He said the first class will be inducted this fall.
“I was looking at newspapers and seeing other schools having a Hall of Fame, recognizing people, and that’s the biggest reason for starting it,” said Wagner. “We don’t have a Hall of Fame for any sport at Daniel Boone. I’m hoping this will jumpstart not just softball, but a sports Hall of Fame to recognize some of the Boone players in all sports.”
Softball seems like a logical starting point as the Lady Trailblazers have a strong tradition in that sport, including a Class AAA state runner-up finish in 2012.
“I believe we have some tradition to fall back on,” said Wagner. “There has been success throughout the whole career of the program, and once we made it to the state tournament and the sectionals, I thought this was the time to step out and do this. I feel we owe it to the girls.”
For more information, go to wcde.org > schools > Daniel Boone > students > athletics > softball > Hall of Fame or e-mail Wagner at wagnerr (at) wcde.org.
Prep signings: Cloudland will be sending a football player to the next level as Asley Haynes will be playing locally.
The 6-2, 275-pound lineman will make it official April 30 with East Tennessee State University. The signing will take place at 1 p.m. at Cloudland.
Follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz.
Baseball games of the week: (Today) Daniel Boone at Science Hill, Sullivan South at Sullivan East, (Wednesday) Daniel Boone at Sullivan South, (Thursday) Science Hill at Daniel Boone, (Friday) Unicoi County at Daniel Boone.
Sullivan East has a chance to keep the Three Rivers Conference title chase interesting. A South win locks up the regular season title for the Rebels.
Science Hill muscles its way up to No. 2 while Sullivan South follows suit into the No. 3 spot in this week’s Prep Top 10 baseball rankings.
Team W-L Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett 24-2 1
2. Science Hill 22-6 3
3. Sullivan South 18-6 4
4. Unicoi County 15-5 2
5. Daniel Boone 14-8 5
6. Greeneville 16-6 7
7. North Greene 21-3 8
8. Sullivan East 12-10 7
9. David Crockett 10-15 9
10. Happy Valley 7-17 10
Softball games of the week: (Today) Science Hill at Daniel Boone, Elizabethton at Unicoi County, University High at South Greene; (Wednesday) Unicoi County at Happy Valley; (Thursday) Happy Valley at Elizabethton, University High at Unaka; (Friday-Sunday) Tiny Day tournament at Greeneville.
The Lady Blue Devils can take a giant step toward winning the Three Rivers Conference title. …
Happy Valley gets back-to-back days with opportunities to shake things up.
Volunteer earned its stripes, beating Unicoi County and eventually winning the Nuclear Fuels Services tournament in Erwin over the weekend. The Lady Falcons also topped Daniel Boone for a second time this season, and they are clearly the No. 1 team in this week’s softball rankings:
Team W-L Prv
1. Volunteer 27-6 3
2. Unicoi County 24-8 1
3. Daniel Boone 22-12 2
4. Greeneville 13-3 4
5. University High 23-4 5
6. Elizabethton 14-7 6
7. Science Hill 17-12 7
8. Happy Valley 13-9 8
9. Dobyns-Bennett 13-14 9
10. David Crockett 10-18 10comments powered by Disqus