Boone softball team blazes its way to state tourney
By Chris Shields
The Lady Blazers catapulted through the region and sectional last week, staking their spot in the state tournament for the second time in three seasons.
After capturing the district tournament without losing a contest, the Blazers opened regional play as hosts to Jefferson County on May 14.
Despite outhitting the Lady Patriots 9-3, Boone struggled to score runs on a wet and rainy Monday evening.
In the circle however, Kellie Waycaster was once again masterful. The senior hurler pitched a three-hit shutout in seven strong innings.
Through four and a half innings the score was knotted at zero, but Boone finally came alive in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With two outs, a Jennine Duncan single kept the inning alive for the Lady Blazers and brought Jessie Wheelock to the plate.
Wheelock blasted a homerun over the left field fence that gave Boone a two-run advantage. The homerun would be the decider as Waycaster kept the Lady Patriots off the board in the 2-0 win.
Wheelock led the Blazer bats, finishing 2-for-3 on the day with 2 RBIs coming off of her fifth inning bomb.
The win setup a May 16 contest against a familiar opponent for Boone, the Lady Eagles of Seymour.
After defeating Seymour in the Region 1-AAA tournament in 2010, the Lady Eagles ended Boone’s season last year in the region.
This time, it was the Lady Blazers’ turn to capture the win, doing so in a dominant 13-3 performance. The win crowned the Lady Blazers Region 1-AAA champion, their second region championship victory in three years.
Boone scored four runs in the home half of the first inning and cruised from there to an easy five inning win.
Waycaster earned her second win in three days, keeping Seymour off the scoreboard until the fifth inning when she gave up a three-run homerun.
Boone responded in the bottom half of the inning by scoring six runs and putting an early end to the game.
The Lady Blazers were led on offense by Andrea Rogers who hit homeruns in the fourth and fifth inning, the first a three-run shot and the latter a grand slam. She finished with seven RBIs in the game.
The win pushed Boone to a May 18 contest at home against Karns in a sectional game that decided which team would head to Murfreesboro.
The Boone bats picked up right where they left off against Seymour, scoring once in the first inning and pushing three more runs across in the third.
Eight combined runs in the fourth and fifth inning sent the Blazers to Murfreesboro and the Lady Beavers back to Knoxville with a final score of 12-6.
Waycaster allowed six runs, only four earned, in the win. She finished 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in two runs. Duncan was 3-for-5 on the night and Wheelock finished 2-for-4.
But it was sophomore Hannah Montoya that did the most damage at the plate, finishing 4-for-4 with her biggest hit coming in the fifth inning — a three-run homerun.
The state tournament is set for May 22-25 with Boone opening their pursuit of a title against the Lady Eagles of Seymour.
The Lady Eagles, who were defeated by the Boone in the Region 1-AAA championship game, outlasted Maryville 9-8 to join Boone in Murfreesboro.