By TREY WILLIAMS
Daniel Boone’s softball team enters the homestretch of the regular season hitting on an all cylinders.
The Trailblazers (8-1, 38-5) took a half-game lead over Science Hill for first place in the Big Seven Conference with a 15-3 win against David Crockett on Monday in Gray.
Megan Ackerman hit two home runs, drove in five runs and pitched five innings for the victory against the Pioneers.
Jaycie Jenkins also homered for Boone, which has been on a roll most of the season.
Jenkins is batting .500 with a .559 on-base percentage. Ackerman and Boone’s other pitcher, Nickolette Ferguson, are batting .430 and .412, respectively.
Ackerman leads the team with 53 RBIs and is tied for the team lead with Jenkins in home runs with six. Ferguson and Camryn Sarvis each have five home runs.
Ackerman (22-1) and Ferguson (16-3) have been dependable on the mound. Ackerman has 107 strikeouts and 12 walks in 136 1/3 innings. Ferguson has struck out 133 and walked 29 in 103 1/3 innings.
“Both of our pitchers have pitched a lot of big games,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “We’ve got confidence in both of them out there every time they take the mound. We’re trying to pitch to contact and make the plays behind ‘em as much as we can.”
Boone also has more speed than Jenkins is accustomed to. Brylee Mesusan leads the team with 31 stolen bases. Makenna Dietz (24) and Jenkins (22) are also threats on the bases.
“It’s kind of like we’ve got three leadoff hitters in our lineup,” Jenkins said. “Mesusan’s got a lot of speed. When we can get her on base we’ve got a really good chance of scoring.”
Boone’s beaten quality competition, including a title in the tournament at Gibbs.
“Going to Gibbs and beating some good competition down there and beating Girls Preparatory School, 5-1, was a big win for us,” Jenkins said. “They’d beat us last year. And knocking Gibbs out in the championship, 2-0, was a big win for us.
“I think that tournament is as good a tournament as you can be in in the state of Tennessee, and we really pitched well all week long. That’s what’s really been carrying us – our pitching and defense.
“Hopefully our bats will get hot at the right time. Last year, I felt like we were a little dead-legged going into the tournament. We pitched really well, but we never really hit the ball really good last year at the end of the season.
“Hopefully, we can just keep this going for the next week, because the tournament starts in a week.”
David Crockett Softball
David Crockett (7-3, 19-9) has been hampered somewhat by the shin splints of ace Kara Weems.
“But she has been a fighter and fought through it,” Crockett coach Carla Weems said. “Kara is having a good year. She’s had to battle an injury with shin splints.”
Weems is 12-5 on the mound. Jenna Davis (6-4) has also pitched effectively at times.
Alyssa Suits is leading Crockett with a .422 average. She also has 11 stolen bases.
Matty McKee is batting .368. Riley Hope and Mackenzie Baldwin are tied for the team lead with seven home runs. Weems is batting .355 with four home runs. Ashlyn Dulaney also has four home runs.
“Alyssa Suits is hitting great and is great on the bases,” Carla Weems said. “Jenna Davis and Maddie Roy combined for nine RBIs in the Cherokee game.
“Maddie is a senior and has battled the loss of a childhood friend this season and needed to have a good game to lift her spirits.”
Daniel Boone Baseball
Daniel Boone’s baseball team (7-5, 14-11) concluded the Big Seven Conference portion of its schedule with a tough 1-0 loss at Tennessee High last week. Junior Cade Elliott pitched exceptionally while allowing one run and two hits in 5 1/3 innings. Elliott threw 113 pitches.
The ‘Blazers narrowly missed a home run earlier in the game when Colby Backus lined a double off the left field fence.
“I thought it was gone,” said Tennessee High starter Davis Hall, who threw a two-hit shutout.
Elliott said Backus, a Providence Academy transfer who’s played well in right field, has provided protection for Elliott at the plate.
“Backus came in this year and I was excited,” Elliott said. “Everybody was singing his praises and stuff. Instantly we clicked. He’s one of the guys now.
“He’s one of my best friends. Having him out there is great. We talk all the time. He makes great plays like those out there today. He comes in and hits ‘em hard. He’s a great guy to have in the lineup.”
David Crockett Baseball
College quarterback prospect Cade Larkins is leading David Crockett’s baseball team in hitting (.441) and on-base percentage (.542).
Sophomore Cody Wheeley is slugging a team-best .742 and leads the team in home runs (four) and RBIs (22). He’s second on the team in hitting (.381) and on-base percentage (.512).
Wheely also had a team-best 3.86 ERA. He is 1-1 on the mound and has converted both of his save opportunities.