Lady Blazers poised for a final run
By Christopher ShieldsFive days before the hosts of the 2014 1-AAA district tournament took the field in their first postseason contest, longtime Daniel Boone Head Coach Rick Wagner to the surprise of many, announced that this would be his last season at the helm of Lady Blazer softball.
Wagner, who has spent the last 12 seasons as Head Coach at Boone, announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season on April 28.
With his son Daniel playing college baseball and his brother and assistant coach, Bill, taking a job out of the area, Wagner decided now was the right time to step away from the sport and program that he has built into a perennial state power.
Prior to the 2014 season, the Lady Blazers had not lost more than nine games in a season since 2010 and have had unparalleled success in the conference, losing their first conference game this year, their first loss in the Big 7 in three seasons.
They finished with a 41-9 record in 2010; 32-7 in 2011; 37-3 in 2012; and a 36-8 record last season.
Wagner has tallied an impeccable 339-176 record during his tenure with the Lady Blazers and has captured seven conference championships and two state berths, placing second in the state in 2012.
Wagner began his final postseason with the Lady Blazers on May 2 in the opening round of the district tournament against Sullivan Central.
Behind the efforts of McKenzi Ferguson in the circle, the Lady Blazers blanked Sullivan Central 6-0 to advance to the double-elimination round of the tournament and prolong Wagner’s tenure for at least two more games.
After a scoreless first inning, the Lady Blazers offense got going in the second, pushing two runs across the plate to take the early lead.
Boone’s offense remained quiet until the sixth inning, when the Blazers added four more runs to take a comfortable 6-0 lead into the final inning.
Kaylin Conkin went 3-for-3 and Abby Harrison added two hits to pace the Blazer offense who finished with 8 hits overall in the contest.
With the win, Boone advances to the second round of the conference tournament and will return to their home field on May 5 against three seed Science Hill.
Tournament at DBHS
#2 Daniel Boone 6 vs. #7 Sullivan Central 0
#3 Science Hill 6 vs. #6 Tennessee High 1
#4 David Crockett 3 vs. #5 Dobyns-Bennett 2
Game 4: #1 Volunteer vs. #4 David Crockett, 5 p.m.
Game 5: #2 Daniel Boone vs. #3 Science Hill, 7 p.m.
Game 6: Game 4 loser vs. Game 5 loser, 5 p.m.
Game 7: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 8: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 5 p.m.
Game 9: Championship, 5 p.m.
Game 10: Championship (Game 2), 7 p.m.