By TREY WILLIAMS
Not that it was ever sputtering, but the Daniel Boone softball team is peaking at the right time.
The Trailblazers (32-11) emphatically avenged two regular season league losses by ending the season of Big Seven Conference champion David Crockett with a 21-0 romp in the losers’ bracket final of the District 1-AAA tournament on Saturday at Bristol’s Rotary Park.
The surreal rout secured a regional game, which the ‘Blazers had to play at Morristown East thanks to a 2-1 loss to Tennessee High in the district championship. Boone will get another shot at the Vikings in Rotary Park on Wednesday thanks to a 10-0 win at East and Tennessee High’s 7-2 to defeat of Jefferson County on Monday.
Boone’s Maci Masters hit her 19th home run of the season in the regional after going 4-for-5 with three home runs and eight RBIs against Crockett.
“It was just a good feeling (beating Crockett) because we didn’t play our best the first two times we played ‘em,” Masters said.
Maggie Hillman shut out David Crockett and followed up with a shutout against Morristown East.
“Maggie works really hard and she’s very humble,” Masters said.
Emma Robinette and Kyleigh Bacon also hit home runs against Morristown East. Bacon, who has set a freshman home run record previously held by Jaclyn Jenkins (10), now has 14 home runs.
Masters went 3-for-3 at Morristown East. Brylee Mesusan, McKenna Dietz, Dannah Persinger and Robinette each had multiple-hit games.
Boone batted for 32 minutes in the first inning and hit four of its eight home runs during that frame while dealing David Crockett (31-8) the season-ending loss.
Due to injuries and attrition, the Pioneers pitched their No. 4 pitcher after ace Matty McKee pitched to the first three batters of the game.
Crockett’s Alyssa Suits was the Big Seven Conference player of the year. She hit .519 with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs.
McKee (14-4, 2.37 ERA) was the pitcher of the year and Carla Weems was the coach of the year.
The Pioneers’ Ashlyn Dulaney (.451, 10 home runs, 43 RBIs), Riley Hope (.400, four home runs, 15 doubles) and Kennedy Broyles (.407, five home runs, 10-4, 3.16 ERA) were also first team selections, as were Boone’s McKenna Dietz and Masters and Robinette. The second team included Boone’s Hillman, Savannah Jessee and Camryn Sarvis.
“It’s somebody different every day,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “I like our chemistry and our depth. We’ve got a lot of depth.”
Crockett recorded its first undefeated regular season in conference play.
“Going 12-0 in the conference is a big thing, especially when you beat Boone,” Weems said. “Crockett beating Boone two times – that’s a big thing for us, especially to come back like we did that second time we played ‘em. They played hard all year. I’m just really proud of ‘em.
“We had some unfortunate circumstances (in the district tournament) that kind of hurt our team, but we did what we could with what we had. So I’m proud of ‘em for the fight.”
Daniel Boone Baseball
The Daniel Boone baseball team’s season ended with a 1-0 loss at Tennessee High in the losers’ bracket final of the District 1-AAA tournament on Tuesday, May 11.
Vikings pitcher Mason Johns, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander, struck out a career-high 13 and walked three while throwing pitches ranging from 69-88 (mph). One of the two hits he gave up was an infield single on a play that could’ve been scored an error.
Johns’ shutout spoiled an excellent outing from Trailblazers right-hander Preston Miller, who also pitched a two-hitter. Miller had a no-hitter going despite trailing 1-0 until Brayden Blevins singled to left field in the fourth.
“If I’d known we were gonna give up one run, I’d tell ya we win,” Boone Coach Scott Hagy said. “That was gutsy – absolutely gutsy by Preston. He threw 48 pitches or something like that on Saturday. He said he felt good and we rode him. He wanted to be out there.
“He did a tremendous job – an absolutely amazing job.”
Boone lost both district tournament games by one run. Science Hill defeated it in eight innings on Saturday.
Boone’s Gaven Jones was the Big Seven Conference player of the year. David Crockett’s Cody Wheeley was the hitter of the year. Boone’s Miller and Crockett’s Garrett Leonard were also All-Big Seven Conference.
Jones and teammate Cole Bishop made the All-District 1-AAA team.
The Trailblazers’ heartbreaking loss wrapped up a trying season for Hagy. He was in his first full season with Boone, one which was prefaced by the death of his father Robert in late February.
“A lot of people are gonna look at this thing and see wins and losses and effort and all that,” Hagy said, “but the thing I’m gonna take away from this bunch of kids is the compassion that they showed me when my dad passed away – just being there and being supportive and giving effort when I was not mentally in the practice mode. And my coaches battled for me. That’s by far more important to me than any win or loss.
“It’s been a tough year. I wish we could’ve won this one for him, but it wasn’t meant to be – just wasn’t meant to be.”