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High school baseball, softball seasons near end

With the district tournament set to begin at the end of the week, the margin for error is quickly diminishing for high school baseball and softball teams as a win or loss can be the difference in playing another game or heading home for the season.
Following a 15-5 win on April 16 where the Daniel Boone High School Blazers crushed the David Crockett High School Pioneers on the diamond, the baseball season took a turn for both teams.
The Blazers finished the week losing four in a row, including two in the conference. The Pioneers rebounded, winning a night later against Volunteer.
Boone continued to plummet in the conference last week with an 8-7 loss to Tennessee High on April 23 followed by 8-2 and 12-0 losses on Tuesday and Wednesday to Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett, respectively.
With their losing streak at seven games, the Blazers turned to pitcher Daniel Cox to pull the team out of their rut with an April 27 start against Unicoi County.
Cox pitched five strong innings for the Blazers, striking out eight and allowing just three hits, with his only earned run coming on a first inning solo shot.
The Boone sophomore also sparked the Blazers on offense, with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. The Blazers tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the top of third before exploding in the final three innings for nine runs to capture a 10-2 win.
Boone collected 17 hits in the contest, with Taylor Smith and Josh Bacon finishing their afternoon at the plate with 3-for-5 efforts. Jacob Littleton blasted a two-run homerun in the seventh to complete the scoring for the Blazers.
The Pioneers opened the week with a 10-6 win over Sullivan Central before falling 17-2 to Dobyns-Bennett on April 24 and 11-1 a day later against Science Hill.
The Pioneers bounced back on April 27 capturing both wins of a double-header against West Greene.
The Pioneers continued their late season push against Tennessee High on April 28 in their conference finale.
Despite giving up two runs in the first, Crockett wouldn’t be denied a 7-7 conference finish, responding with three runs in the home half of the inning and reeling off seven more over the next six innings to capture a 10-2 victory.
Kohl Tarlton earned the Crockett win and Seth Bailey led the Pioneers bats with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate, knocking in four runs to the lead Crockett offense.
The Pioneers sit at fourth place in the conference with a 7-7 record.
At 5-7, both Boone and Tennessee High can tie the Pioneers for fourth place if they win their final two conference games, but only Boone owns the tiebreaker over Crockett, with the potential to knock them to fifth if they can capture the two contests.
The district tournament is set to begin Saturday, May 5.
SOFTBALL ACTION
Sitting at 12-0 in the conference, the Lady Blazers continued their winning ways last week opening on April 23 with a 12-2 win over Sullivan South and remaining perfect in the conference a night later with a 12-0 win over Tennessee High.
Playing on April 28 in North Carolina, the Lady Blazers took both games of a double-header. In their first contest against T.C. Roberson, Boone pushed six runners across the plate in the first inning en route to an 8-1 win.
Kellie Waycaster was once again dominant in the circle, earning win number 26 on the season. Natalie Sheffey led the Blazer bats with three RBIs in the contest.
In the second game of the day, the Blazers took on tournament host Enka. With McKenzi Ferguson in the circle, Boone once again got off to a quick start, scoring two runs in the first inning and relying on Ferguson from there in a 3-0 shutout win. Ferguson allowed just three hits while striking out seven in earning the victory.
The Lady Pioneers shook off an early week 4-3 loss to Dobyns-Bennett on April 23, by returning to play a day later and silencing Sullivan South 9-1.
Freshman Madison Grindstaff was in the circle for Crockett winning her eleventh game of the season with a dominant performance.
Grindstaff allowed just four hits and a run over seven innings.
South took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second but that would be the last of their scoring. Crockett responded with four runs in the home half of the third and scored in each inning after to take the win.
The Pioneer offense was led by Jessica Leach who finished 3-for-4 at the plate and Kat Woodson who drove in three runs on two hits. Madison Grindstaff also contributed on offense, reaching base three times while scoring twice.
After falling 12-3 to Science Hill on April 26, the Lady Pioneers returned play over the weekend amassing three wins. Crockett opened the Classic with two wins on April 27, defeating Cloudland and Happy Valley each by a score of 8-1.
The Lady Pioneers continued winning on April 28 with a 4-3 win over Unaka before falling 5-2 in rematch against Happy Valley.
With just a short week of the regular season remaining, teams will begin play in the district tournament at Tennessee High on May 4.