With postseason play beginning Wednesday, it’s time to take a peek ahead and see which teams have the best chance of getting to The Boro.
The Spring Fling, the TSSAA’s five-sport state championship chase, is scheduled for May 25-28 in Murfreesboro.
When looking at the following rankings, it’s important to note that upsets can make a big difference on teams’ postseason paths.
1. North Greene — With two aces up their sleeves (Carson Whaley and Cayden Foulks), the state’s No. 1-ranked Huskies are the best bet from District 1 to reach the state tournament.
2. University High — Even if the Buccaneers can’t get past North Greene, they would figure to have Kaleb Meredith on the mound in a potential sectional contest against Tellico Plains or Coalfield, and that’s a nice advantage with a shot at a third straight state tournament berth.
3. Science Hill — The top-seed in District 1-AAA, also seeking a third straight trip to The Boro, has the kind of tradition-pitching-hitting mix that plays well in the postseason. The problem is a hideous road that could include Seymour, Powell and Farragut.
4. Elizabethton — Yet another team seeking a third straight trip to Murfreesboro, this is a battle-tested bunch that usually takes things to another level when postseason play begins. The road is perilous with Greeneville, Pigeon Forge and Gibbs potentially in the way.
5. Sullivan South — The Rebels haven’t lost to a Class AA team since March 30, and their six losses are Greeneville, Pigeon Forge, Elizabethton (twice), Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High. There’s something to be said for the potential boost of a sentimental run to the state in the school’s last year of existence. South has reached the state twice in 41 years, winning a Class AAA gold ball in 1987 and returning in Class AA in 2015.
6. Dobyns-Bennett — With 14 appearances under their belts, don’t count the Indians out of the picture. Pitching depth is a nice selling point.
7. Tennessee High — It has been 41 years since the Vikings found their way, but they came within two runs of reaching the dance in 2019.
8. Daniel Boone — A team that gave up six runs in four games against Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill cannot be counted out of the big postseason picture.
9. Unicoi County — When talking about tradition, the Blue Devils are right at the top of the list. They went to the state 13 times in 15 years (1984-98), but have been only twice in the last 22 years.
1. Unaka — Oliver Springs and Sale Creek could produce problems at the sectional level, but the Lady Rangers are well-stocked for a fourth straight trip to The Boro.
2. Elizabethton — The Lady Cyclones have a strong mix of pitching, sticks and gloves. Avoiding Gibbs at the sectional level would be crucial to achieving the second state berth in school history.
3. David Crockett — If the Lady Pioneers get state-level pitching and defense in the postseason, their lineup gives them a shot. A treacherous road that could include Powell and Farragut at the sectional level means home or away could be quite a challenge.
4. Daniel Boone — It comes down to pitching and defense because the Lady Trailblazers can whack it around the park as good as any team from here to Knoxville.
5. Unicoi County — The Lady Blue Devils have won 12 of their last 15 games and tradition means a lot to this bunch. They have the potential to be a seriously tough out in the postseason.
6. Science Hill — The Lady Hilltoppers are closing in on 30 wins despite losing their top player to injury a few weeks ago. That says a lot about what this team still has to offer in postseason circles. But Science Hill has never been to the state softball tournament.
7. Dobyns-Bennett — A 14-game winning streak proved this bunch can be dangerous, but the Lady Indians are 3-3 since. Can they regain the magic?
8. Tennessee High — Another team fighting against tradition, the Lady Vikings haven’t been to The Boro, either. But they have competed at an elite level this season.
9. Sullivan East — It has been a different season than the Lady Patriots probably imagined, but they were banging at the door in 2019.
AROUND THE STATE Baseball
Collierville, which has won 11 straight games, moved into the top spot in the May 3 version of the Tennessee Baseball Report all-classification rankings.
Farragut stumbled to No. 5 with losses to Pigeon Forge and Chattanooga Baylor.
Here is the top 10:
1. Collierville (29-5), 2. Seymour (28-2), 3. Baylor (21-3), 4. Briarcrest (21-5), 5. Farragut (28-4), 6. Pigeon Forge (23-2), 7. Houston (28-5), 8. CAK (28-6), 9. Goodpasture (29-3), 10. Clarksville (25-4).
In the Class AAA rankings, Seymour slots at No. 2 behind Collierville. In the 30 games, the stingy Eagles have allowed a shockingly low 44 runs — the best average in the state at 1.5 per game. Offensively, Seymour is No. 8 in the state among public schools with 9.6 runs per game.
In Class AA, Pigeon Forge remains at the top. The Tigers are followed by Gibbs, Milan, Greeneville and Carter.
North Greene (21-6) is still ranked No. 1 in Class A. The Huskies are followed by Summertown, Coalfield, East Robertson and Lake County.
Dobyns-Bennett will have a makeup of its previously postponed home match against Tennessee High on Thursday at 4 p.m.
Willa Rogers will make her college choice official as part of a signing day Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. in the new science/technology center. Rogers will sign to play women’s tennis at Liberty University.
Also signing are Caitlyn Wallace (women’s basketball, Trevecca Nazarene) and Bronwyn McAlindon (women’s tennis, Emory & Henry).
The Knights will send three athletes to the next level with a ceremony set for 12:40 p.m. in the gym.
In baseball, Daniel Lawson and Noah Lawson will both sign with Milligan University. In golf, Bo Luff will make it official with Covenant.
GAMES OF THE WEEK BASEBALL
University High at Elizabethton
The Cyclones have been “playing up” recently with games against Class AAA foes Tennessee High, David Crockett and Science Hill. Now they face a team that is doing the same as the Class A Buccaneers take a shot at the area’s top Class AA squad.
David Crockett at Science Hill
Daniel Boone at Tennessee High
Science Hill at Daniel Boone
Nobody has been able to solve the powerful Lady Pioneers in a league setting, but Science Hill has one more chance to crack the code. …
Daniel Boone still has plenty of work left in order to claim the No. 2 seed for the district tournament.
Chuckey-Doak at University High
Dobyns-Bennett at Science Hill
University High will try to wrap up the District 1-A regular season title and improve their impressive record. The Buccaneers enter the game with an overall mark of 10-1-3.