Streaking Crockett, steady Boone both have perfect week
By Chris Shields
Coming off a third-place finish two weekends ago in the Eastman Invitational, Boone sits atop the conference standings with an overall record of 22-3 and a perfect 10-0 conference mark.
After a slow start to the season, the Lady Pioneers appear to have finally hit their stride, moving up to fourth in the conference standings with a 9-11 overall record and a 5-5 mark in the Big 8.
Both teams seem to be nearing postseason form after finishing last week without a loss.
go 3-0 on the week
Maybe the Lady Blazers were looking ahead to their end-of-week game against Science Hill, or perhaps playing several games within a couple of days took a toll on Boone.
Whatever the reason, Boone struggled at Volunteer to open the week on April 9, but still managed to squeak out an 8-7 victory.
It was business as usual for the Lady Blazers through the first three and a half innings, opening the contest with three runs in the first inning, two in the third and two more in the fourth.
In the circle, McKenzi Ferguson allowed just one Volunteer run over the span and Boone appeared well on its way to the team’s 20th win of the season.
The contest took a turn in the home half of the fourth, as the Lady Falcons rallied for three runs in the inning.
The Lady Blazers added another run in the fifth to take an 8-4 lead. But Volunteer struck again in the bottom of the inning, plating three runs to cut the Boone lead to one.
Ferguson was eventually replaced by Jaclyn Jenkins in the circle.
Volunteer appeared poised to deliver Boone their first conference loss of the season in the home half of the final inning after loading the bases with two outs. But Jenkins worked her way out of the jam after the final Volunteer hitter lined out to end the contest and earn the save.
Volunteer outhit Boone 11-10 and the Lady Blazers committed two errors in the field, one more than the home team. But the most important category went to the Blazers — a tally in the win column.
Haley Wagner led Boone’s offense with two hits, the biggest coming in the third inning on a two-run round tripper.
Sandwiched between the Blazers early week scare against Volunteer and an end-of-week matchup against Science Hill, was an April 11 contest against Sullivan South in Colonial Heights.
An eight-run first inning propelled the Lady Blazers to a 13-2 win over the Lady Rebels as Ferguson got back on track in the circle and earned the win.
Boone’s week was topped off with an April 12 contest in Johnson City against Science Hill (18-11, 8-2), the Big 8’s second best team.
Ferguson was in top form for the Lady Blazers, pitching five shutout innings before being relieved by Jenkins in the sixth.
The Lady Blazers struck for a run in the first inning to open the contest and added two more in the second to take a 3-0 advantage early.
Science Hill outhit the Lady Blazers 7-5 in the contest, but Boone made the most of their opportunities on offense, pushing four runs across the plate despite just five hits.
Boone’s final run of the contest came in the fourth when Kayla Sanders drove home Alli Littleton.
The Hilltoppers threatened to score several times throughout the contest, but Boone was excellent on defense and clutch in the circle.
Science Hill’s last push came in the sixth inning when Ferguson allowed the first two batters to reach base. Jenkins came in for relief and shut down the Science Hill offense, refusing to allow the hit and wrapping up the contest for the Lady Blazers in a 4-0 win.
The win gives the Lady Blazers a two-game lead over the Hilltoppers for first place in the conference.
Crockett hits stride at right time:
Crockett’s slow start to 2013 is quickly becoming a distant memory.
The Lady Pioneers appear to have hit their stride after reeling off several key wins over the past few weeks and climbing in the conference rankings.
Crockett gave the Hilltoppers their first loss of the season two weeks ago and nearly did the same against Boone.
Crockett continued their impressive play last week finishing with three wins.
The Lady Pioneers opened the week on April 9 in Kingsport against the Big 8’s third-place team, Dobyns-Bennett, landing a 4-1 victory over the Lady Indians.
Crockett senior catcher Jackie Lloyd provided the offensive spark for the Pioneers with a 4-for-4 effort at the plate.
The Pioneers scored a run in the second inning, two more in the fifth, and a final run in the seventh to punctuate the 4-1 win.
Freshman Haley Grindstaff worked the circle to near perfection in the win.
She allowed just two D-B hits and an unearned run in the fourth inning.
After nearly knocking off Boone two days prior, Volunteer traveled to Jonesborough to take on the other Washington County team on April 11. The Lady Falcons may have been expecting an easier chance for a win, but that wasn’t Crockett’s plan.
The Lady Pioneers didn’t allow the Lady Falcons to hang around as Boone had; instead Crockett exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning and locked down the Falcons after for a 7-2 win.
Volunteer struck first in the second inning with a run, but Crockett hammered the Falcon offense in the fourth.
The only other run of the contest came in the top of the seventh, before Crockett’s Grindstaff shut the door on Volunteer, giving the Pioneers the win. Crockett did commit five errors in the field and two the game before against D-B.
Crockett finished the week with a 4-0 win over North Greene to push their record to 9-11 overall. The win over Volunteer left the Lady Pioneers with a .500 conference mark, good enough for fourth place in the Big 8. Crockett is playing at a high level at the right time and is talented enough to challenge any team in the conference.