Johnson City Press Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sports High schools

Tourney time here for preps

April 30th, 2014 7:07 pm by Douglas Fritz

One of the great things about high school sports is tournament time.

Even though the regular season produces some intense games, there’s nothing quite like “Chasing The ‘Boro.”

That’s the mode everybody enters as district tournament action begins this week. The main goal is a trip to Murfreesboro for a shot at state championships in the TSSAA’s Spring Fling, scheduled for May 19-23.

Here’s a sport-by-sport look at district tournament action:

Baseball

1-AAA at David Crockett in Jonesborough — It may be an obvious thing to say Dobyns-Bennett is the favorite to win this event. The Indians have plenty of pitching, and a good lineup, too.

But there’s much more to this tournament than meets the eye.

Science Hill nipped at the Indians’ heels twice in 3-1 and 2-1 decisions that could have gone either way. The Hilltoppers are definitely a threat to the Tribe.

Also, Daniel Boone stood strong against the Hilltoppers in a pair of late-season battles that both came down to the wire.

Tennessee High actually defeated the Indians, giving D-B its lone league loss of the season. The Vikings also beat Science Hill, but couldn’t handle David Crockett or Boone — going 0-4 and getting outscored 41-9. And Crockett recently beat both Sullivan South and Unicoi County.

All of those things add up to a very interesting mix of games.

Predicted winner: Dobyns-Bennett.

If the Indians don’t, then: Science Hill.

1-AA at Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport — When the season started it looked like a four-horse race, but eventually Sullivan South rose to the top with Unicoi close behind.

When the Rebels trot Russell Koesters to the mound, they are tough to beat. But Unicoi probably has the most pitching depth, and that comes in handy for a multi-day event. And after Brandon Garland’s one-hitter against Dobyns-Bennett, the Blue Devils have an ace in the hole even though he’s a freshman.

Sullivan East is still relevant, and even Elizabethton can’t be completely counted out despite an inconsistent season.

Predicted winner: Unicoi County.

If the Blue Devils don’t, then: Sullivan South.

1-A at Indian Trail Middle School — It doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize North Greene is a heavy favorite. If the Huskies do their thing, they should win it without a loss.

After that, it’s a free for all for that second regional tournament berth. Everybody except Cloudland has a legitimate chance to reach the championship round.

Predicted winner: North Greene.

If the Huskies  don’t then: Unaka.

Softball

1-AAA at Daniel Boone in Gray — It would be easy to get in a little hot water with Volunteer fans by picking against the Falcons, who breezed through the league without a loss.

But Volunteer had two very tight games against Daniel Boone — 1-0 and 2-1 — and the Lady Trailblazers are on their home field. The Lady ‘Blazers have the tradition. And they are motivated to send retiring head coach Rick Wagner out with another district title.

Yes, Volunteer is favored, but something could click for Boone this time around.

Science Hill and David Crockett have done enough good things this season to warrant a comment. Either could pull off an upset.

Predicted winner: Daniel Boone.

If the Lady ‘Blazers don’t then: Volunteer.

1-AA at Sullivan North in Kingsport — Unicoi County held off all league challengers through a perfect regular season.

The Lady Blue Devils boast two good pitchers, a rough lineup to handle, and solid defense. That’s a combination for postseason success.

Elizabethton has a very tough lineup as well, and boasts arguably the best defensive shortstop in the area with Danielle Loving.

Happy Valley is solid across the board, and that makes the Lady Warriors worthy of being mentioned in the regional conversation. Sullivan East is scrappy, and could pull off an upset.

Predicted winner: Unicoi County.

If the Lady Blue Devils don’t, then: Elizabethton.

1-A at Unaka in Elizabethton — Ruling the league with an iron fist, University High enters as a runaway favorite.

Who can give the Lady Buccaneers the biggest challenge? Maybe Unaka or possibly South Greene, but North Greene had some postseason success last year.

Predicted winner: University High.

If the Lady Bucs don’t, then: Unaka.

Tennis

Dobyns-Bennett’s Josie Rogers will be among the highlighted players as the 1-AAA event gets under way Monday at Liberty Bell courts.

The semifinals and championship matches are scheduled for Tuesday.

Rogers is a favorite to win in girls singles.

The champions and runners-up in each tournament earn spots in the regional event. …

In 1-A/AA, competition begins today at Milligan College’s courts.

Action will continue into Friday with the semifinals tentatively scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The championship matches should start somewhere around 12:30 p.m.

Soccer

Unbeaten Science Hill is at the head of the class and will get a quarterfinal-round bye in the 1-AAA event, which begins Monday at the home fields of the higher seeds: Dobyns-Bennett, Tennessee High and Daniel Boone.

The semifinals will shift to Tipton Stadium on Tuesday with games at 5 and 7 p.m.

On May 8, the championship match is slated for 7 o’clock.

Science Hill (15-0-1 overall with its lone tie coming against an out-of-state opponent) outscored its district foes 36-0 during the regular season. However, the match against D-B was a tight 2-0 decision.

Predicted winner: Science Hill.

In Class A-AA, the three-team event will take just two days to complete. Elizabethton will match up against Sullivan South in the semifinals on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Kingsport. The winner will travel to meet University High on May 8 with game time tentatively set for 6 p.m.

Think this district is easy to figure out? University High beat and tied Sullivan South, which beat and tied Elizabethton, which beat and lost to University High. Good luck!

Predicted winner: University High.

Track

In Class AAA, everything moves directly to the sectional level and that meet is scheduled for May 10 at Tipton Stadium.

In Class A-AA, the subsectional meet is slated for Greeneville’s track on Tuesday at 10 a.m. The Class A-AA East Sectional is scheduled for May 13 at Christian Academy of Knoxville, beginning at 10 a.m.

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