Postseason play is right around the corner.
District tournament time is less than two weeks away for baseball and softball teams, and several events will have a different look this year.
Here’s how things are planned:
Home sites will be used throughout this tournament, which is tentatively scheduled to begin May 7 with three elimination games.
Top-seeded Science Hill will advance to the winners’ bracket semifinals on May 8. The tournament will continue through May 12, or May 13 if an if-necessary game is needed.
Games are scheduled to begin May 6 with first-round matchups at the home site of the higher-seeded teams.
A double-elimination format will be in effect throughout the tournament, which will move to Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark for the second round and beyond.
This tournament will be played in its entirety at David Crockett’s field in Jonesborough.
The tentative start date is May 7 with a play-in game. The double-elimination portion would begin May 8.
Games will be played at the home field of the higher- seeded team.
Action will begin with elimination games on May 7. Top-seeded David Crockett gets a bye into the winners’ bracket semifinals.
This tournament will be played at the home sites of the higher-seeded teams.
It is scheduled to begin May 5 with a play-in game. The double-elimination format begins May 6. Action continues through the championship, which is set for May 12.
All games will be played at Legion Field in Greeneville.
Elimination contests will take place May 8 with double-elimination starting May 10. The championship is set for May 13.
AT THE NET
Science Hill’s boys and girls tennis teams have positioned themselves for the postseason, but both still have work to do.
The Hilltoppers knocked off Dobyns-Bennett (8-1) and Tennessee High (6-3) in their first conference meetings, but must play each of those strong programs again. The boys also own a 6-3 win over Farragut, which is the top team from Region 2.
As for the girls, the matches were even tougher with Science Hill beating D-B (5-4 with five singles matches going to tiebreakers) and Tennessee High (6-3). The girls beat Farragut by a count of 8-1.
Boys’ head coach Kelly Lane said his team also got plenty of good competition against Division II schools Knox Webb and Chattanooga Baylor. And just getting out of the district is an important step because of the strong tradition of team tennis in Northeast Tennessee.
“If you can get out of this district, you can make some noise,” Lane said.
Whoever wins District 1 would play host for all team tennis postseason matches through the sectional round.
Leading the way for the Hilltoppers has been senior Griffen Nickels, who made it to the state as a sophomore.
“He has led us on the court against a lot of tough opponents,” Lane said. “He has impressed me for sure, and played good tennis.”
Another standout has been Om Patel, playing at No. 2 singles.
“He has really impressed me with his ability to stay calm in big matches,” Lane said. “He never lets the moment get too big.”
Other standouts include Daniel Haddadin, Arshaam Kordamiri, Zack Clemons and Jackson Temple.
For the girls, head coach Erin Williams said her team has been challenged as well by a tough schedule.
“We went to Chattanooga recently and played private schools GPS and Baylor,” Williams said. “Those two teams are extremely talented with amazing coaches. We lost both matches, but the competition was great. My girls learned from every match.
“I am impressed by the fight in these girls and the way they grind it out in close matches and never give up. They want to win not just for themselves, but for their team. This is the closest team I have had in a long time and it makes the wins so much sweeter when they are in it for each other. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do during the month of May.”
The individual district tournament will be held May 10-11 at the Ida Stone Jones Community Tennis Center in Bristol. The region will also be at that site and is scheduled for May 17.
Dobyns-Bennett’s program was hit with a pause as a positive COVID case forced the Indians to postpone important Big Seven Conference matches with Science Hill (Tuesday) and Tennessee High (Thursday).
The Indians won’t be able to get back on the courts until May 3. District tournament action is scheduled to begin May 10.
PIONEERS ON THE PITCH
David Crockett has not been known as a soccer power, but the Pioneers have put together an impressive season in 2021.
With what is likely a school-record 11 wins on the season, the Pioneers have more victories than any team in Northeast Tennessee. Yes, more than traditional powers Dobyns-Bennett, Science Hill and Greeneville.
“We have been working extremely hard to get where we are, and are still looking to grow as a team,” said Crockett head coach Chris Kudera. “We have seven seniors who provide quality leadership both on and off the field. I am excited for the team in accomplishing some of the preseason goals and look forward to where we can finish after these next two weeks.”
The Pioneers haven’t played the same schedule as those powers, but Crockett has been dominant defensively this year. The Pioneers have allowed only 16 goals in 16 games, and six of those came in a recent loss to D-B.
The schedule gets a little tougher this week with rival Daniel Boone (Tuesday’s battle for third place in District 1-AAA) and Science Hill (Wednesday) on the slate.
COLLEGE SIGNINGS Dobyns-Bennett
A signing day will be held Wednesday at 3:10 p.m. in the new science/technology center.
Included in the mix is football standout Zane Whitson, who will sign with Middle Tennessee State University.
Other football signees are Braden Marshall (Emory & Henry), Jackson Martin (Emory & Henry) and Ethan Murray (Maryville). Also on the list are wrestlers Jackson Hurst (Chattanooga), Clint Morrisette (Life University), Tre Morrisette (Life University) and Brennan Watkins (Campbell University).
The Rebels will send one of their tennis standouts to the next level.
Mason Hunt will make it official Friday at 2:30 p.m. when he signs with King University.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
• Science Hill at Dobyns-Bennett
• Tennessee High at Daniel Boone
• Tennessee High at Elizabethton
• Pigeon Forge at Elizabethton
• Science Hill at Elizabethton
Elizabethton is cranking up the schedule heat as it closes in on the postseason, diving into several big-time battles.
• David Crockett at Elizabethton
• Science Hill at Greeneville
• Unicoi County at Elizabethton
• Science Hill at Elizabethton
There are plenty of challenges in store for the Lady Cyclones, and Thursday’s battle could have Three Rivers Conference title implications.
• Elizabethton at Greeneville
The Cyclones will find out if they can match up with the perennial state power.