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’Toppers, Tribe, Vikings look to settle Big 7 baseball issue

Douglas Fritz • Apr 9, 2019 at 1:11 AM

It’s a big couple of weeks for the Big 7 Conference in baseball.

This week, Science Hill plays a two-game series with Tennessee High and next week has a two-game set with Dobyns-Bennett. Then the Indians and Vikings go head to head on April 22-23.

The trio of teams entered this week deadlocked for first place with each holding a 5-1 league record. Daniel Boone was primed in the spoiler role with a conference mark of 5-3. The Trailblazers already own wins over Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett, and Tennessee High is on Boone’s schedule for April 15-16.

The tight race is halfway over. Within 14 days it will either remain a frenzied scramble or one team will emerge from the pack.

The Vikings’ loss to David Crockett puts them in a precarious spot. If Tennessee High splits with Science Hill, Boone and D-B, the Crockett loss could be what bumps the Vikings to third place heading into the district tournament. Still, the Vikings are coming off an impressive run through the Tribe Classic over the weekend. They won the title with a tight 2-1 decision over Greeneville in the championship game and earned the favorite role for the Big 7.

RUN-SCORING REBELS

Sullivan South racked up 38 runs in three games last week, moving its season average to 11.4 per game. That put the Rebels back in the No. 1 spot in the state among public schools.

Division II Christian Academy of Knoxville is slightly ahead of the Rebels’ pace with 11.9 runs per game. South is familiar with CAK from the 2015 sectional when the Warriors played among the public schools. South shocked the defending state champs, winning 3-2 in 12 innings on Cooper Jackson’s walk-off single.

Tennessee High (9.3 runs per game), University High (9.0) and Elizabethton (8.9) are also among the top 20 teams in the state in scoring average.

CYCLONES ATTACK

Coming off a TSSAA Class AA tournament appearance in 2018, Elizabethton entered this year with a target on its back.

Through the first four weeks of the season, the Cyclones (13-4, 6-0 Three Rivers Conference) have handled the role very well. Two of their losses were against out-of-state teams while the others were against Loudon and Union County in early-season games at Smokies Stadium in Kodak. Loudon is 11-4 on the season and currently holds the best record in Region 3-AA.

DOING IT WITH DEFENSE

Daniel Boone — coming off its fifth shutout of the season, a 9-0 win over University High on Saturday — is ranked No. 13 in the state among public schools in scoring defense. The Trailblazers have allowed only 2.8 runs per game, and that number drops to 2.0 in terms of earned runs; Boone has surrendered 40 in 20 games.

COLLEGE SIGNINGS

Elizabethton’s Lawson Wagner made his college choice official last week. The Cyclones’ standout signed to play at Roane State Community College.

At Sullivan East, the Patriots are sending Clayton Rose (Tusculum, football), Dustin Bartley (Milligan, basketball), Paxton Adkins (Milligan, volleyball) and Sydney Byrd (Tusculum, volleyball) to the next level.

Baseball games of the week

TUESDAY — Tennessee High at Science Hill, Elizabethton at Sullivan South, University High at Unaka, North Greene at Sullivan North

MONDAY, APRIL 15 — Science Hill at Dobyns-Bennett, Tennessee High at Boone, North Greene at University High

Unless they split, either the Cyclones or Rebels will take command in the Three Rivers Conference. ...

University High will try to take complete control of the Watauga Valley Conference.

Baseball rankings

After winning the Tribe Classic, Tennessee High muscles its way into the top spot.

Team W-L Prv
1. Tennessee High 16-4 2
2. Elizabethton 13-4 4
3. Dobyns-Bennett 12-7 3
4. Science Hill 10-7 1
5. Daniel Boone 12-8 5
6. Sullivan South 11-4 7
7. University High 10-7 8
8. Sullivan East 9-8 6
9. Cherokee 9-9 NR
10. Sullivan North 7-7 10

Softball games of the week

TUESDAY — Daniel Boone at Dobyns-Bennett, Volunteer at David Crockett

MONDAY, APRIL 15 — Dobyns-Bennett at Daniel Boone, David Crockett at Unicoi County

Daniel Boone and Dobyns-Bennett will get a full regular season’s worth of each other in the span of one week. ...

Volunteer tries to battle its way into the upper-division fray of the Big 7 ...

Unicoi County will try to avenge one of its four losses.

Softball rankings

Daniel Boone is still No. 1, but Science Hill is right on the Lady Trailblazers’ heels.

Team W-L Prv
1. Daniel Boone 25-5 1
2. Science Hill 22-6 2
3. David Crockett 15-7 3
4. Unicoi County 20-4 4
5. Dobyns-Bennett 16-9 7
6. Sullivan East 11-10 5
7. Sullivan South 9-7 6
8. Volunteer 9-7 10
9. Unaka 14-14 9
10. Elizabethton 6-6 10

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