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Boone season ends; Coach says goodbye

For the second time in as many years, the Lady Blazers softball season came to an end in the state sectional round after a 9-3 loss to Knoxville Gibbs on May 17.
This time however, the loss not only signaled the end to their season, it also signified the end of an era as longtime Lady Blazer Head Coach Rick Wagner walked off the field for the final time.
The Lady Blazers opened the week on May 12 in the regional tournament at home against Seymour days after capturing their sixth straight district tournament crown. Boone would need to win the game to qualify for a spot in the weekend’s sectional contest.
With district tournament MVP McKenzi Ferguson in the circle, the Lady Blazers coasted to an 8-2 victory over the Lady Eagles.
After two scoreless frames to open the contest, Ferguson would get all the run support she would need in the home-half of the third inning with Boone bringing six runs in to score.
The Blazers posted five hits in the inning, and a Seymour error would only prolong the damage.
Boone would plate a run in the fourth and fifth inning and when the Eagles finally got to Ferguson, scoring two runs in the fifth, the contest was all but settled.
The win secured the Blazers a spot in the sectional and set them up with familiar foe Volunteer in the regional tournament final.
After defeating the Lady Falcons in the district tournament and securing home field advantage for the region, the two teams would meet again on May 14.
Having lost twice in the regular season to Volunteer, Boone would even the series record against the Lady Falcons in the district tournament after winning both contests against them in the first leg of the postseason.
The final and deciding contest between the two teams would be a grueling 10 inning affair, with Volunteer coming out on top, 8-4 after scoring four runs in the top of the 10th.
With the conference’s best two pitchers, Ferguson and Volunteer’s Morgan Marshall, squaring off against one another, there was little offense early. But with the teams locked in a scoreless tie, Volunteer would strike first, scoring the game’s first two runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Boone would return the favor in the home-half of the inning, scoring three runs to take their first lead of the game.
The contest would head to the seventh with Boone maintaining a small advantage, but the Lady Falcons would jump back in front with two runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Not to be outdone, Boone would send the game to extra innings as Ferguson drove home a run on her second hit of the contest.
After a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, Volunteer would push four runs across the plate in the 10th inning to finally subdue the Lady Blazers and claim the season series 3-2.
With a spot secured in the next round of the postseason, the Lady Blazers traveled to Knoxville on May 17 to play the Gibbs Lady Eagles in the state sectionals.
Boone fell in a hole early, as Gibbs piled six runs on the board in the first inning. The Lady Blazers wouldn’t rebound, eventually falling 9-3.
The loss ended Boone’s season at 31-17 and closes the book on one of the most successful coaching careers at Daniel Boone High School, one which spanned 12 seasons and helped make Lady Blazer softball a recognized name throughout the state.
For players, coaches and fans alike, Rick Wagner will be missed.