The injury bug continued to bite the Daniel Boone baseball team in last week’s District 1-AAAA tournament, but the Trailblazers persevered and secured a second straight region berth for the first time in program history.
Boone’s Jake Davenport sustained a foot injury during the tournament that will sideline him, but Boone punched its region ticket Friday at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in Kingsport with an 8-5 win against West Ridge.
Jaiden Henry got the victory on the mound in the championship. Brogan Jones had pitched five effective innings of relief when Boone also beat West Ridge in 10 innings earlier in the tournament, a triumph that meant having to overcome East Tennessee State left-hander Drew Hoover. He struck out 13 in 6 1/3 innings, but left having thrown 118 pitches.
“He battled and did a great job,” Hagy said.
The ‘Blazers stole 10 bases against West Ridge, including one when the game-winning run scored in the 10th inning on a throwing error.
Top-seeded Science Hill defeated Boone in nine innings in the winners’ bracket final and again in the championship game on Saturday.
“Last year we beat ‘em two out of the four times we played ‘em,” Hagy said. It’s not like we’re intimidated or afraid of anybody. But they’ve got a good squad and did some really good things and got some timely hits. I mean we’ve got it down to two outs and a 2-1 count on a batter and he drives in two runs.
“I can’t say we’re snake-bitten or anything like that. They did what they had to do. We did everything we had to do to win, and what, two or three times there we just couldn’t hold on to it.”
Boone has been without four to five players all season, primarily due to injuries that occurred during football season. But the basketball team also was severely handicapped by the injuries, but managed to get to the region.
Baseball coach Scott Hagy used that example for motivation.
“I told our guys, ‘We’re in the same situation the basketball team was. It can be done. You’ve just gotta do it. You can’t make excuses. We’ve just gotta go play,’” Hagy said.
All things considered, back-to-back region berths is quite the accomplishment.
“All along that was our expectation – to get back,” Hagy said. “We didn’t feel like we played very well in the region last year and we wanted to get back. Of course, we weren’t expecting all those injuries that we had. But we decided when all that started happening that we weren’t going to make excuses. We were going to do what we had to do – and we did.”
Boone will play Sevier County on Friday night at 7:30 at TVA Credit Union Ballpark in its region opener.
“I know they’ve got one going to Tennessee Tech and one going to Campbell,” Hagy said. “So their strength is their pitching. It ought to be a good test – their pitching against our hitting.
“We’re playing really well right now. I’m pleased with where we’re at. We’ve just gotta keep it moving.”
David Crockett’s season ended when it lost 9-7 to Dobyns-Bennett in the play-in game on May 2.
Nate Walters had a three-run home run for the Pioneers (5-24). The junior finished with five RBIs.
Braeden Nix went 3-for-4. Isaac Cook scored two runs.