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Lady Blazers capture district, last county team standing girls eliminated

After a week of District 1-AAA tournament play, just one Washington County team remains active in the softball and baseball postseason.
The Lady Blazers of Daniel Boone High School, to no surprise, punched their ticket to the region tournament by wrapping up their second consecutive district tournament championship last week.
The Lady Pioneers of David Crockett High School and baseball Blazers of Boone weren’t as fortunate as both of their seasons came to an end following losses in the conference tournament.
LADY BLAZERS CONTINUE ON
The Lady Blazers can add another accomplishment to their already impressive and lengthy resume after capturing a conference tournament crown last week.
Boone finished the tournament a perfect 4-for-4.
The Lady Blazers opened postseason play on May 7 with a 14-0 win over Sullivan Central. They followed the contest with a second round win a day later over Dobyns-Bennett in another dominating 14-2 performance. With two games down, the Lady Blazers entered the semifinals on May 9 against second seed Science Hill.
Natalie Sheffey gave the Blazers an early cushion in the first inning with a two-run homerun to put her team ahead 2-0.
Despite being outhit, the Blazers, led by Kellie Waycaster in the circle, managed to keep the Hilltoppers off the scoreboard.
Boone pushed another runner across the plate in the fourth to maintain a three-run advantage, but Science Hill would score two runs in the sixth inning to cut into the Boone lead.
Science Hill threatened in the top of the seventh, scoring once, but Waycaster closed out the contest for her 30th win of the season. Boone advanced to the championship game with the 4-3 win.
Having already secured a spot in the regionals, the Lady Blazers opened the conference championship on May 11 against Science Hill needing just one win to capture the crown. The Lady Hilltoppers, already with one loss in the tournament, would have to beat Boone twice to take the championship.
Despite falling behind by six, the Lady Blazers rallied in the final three innings to capture the championship, 8-6.
Entering the bottom of the fifth, Boone trailed 6-0 and while most in attendance figured a second game would be necessary, the Lady Blazers did not.
Helped out by Hilltopper errors, Boone pushed eight runs across the plate over the final innings to grab the win. The victory marked their second Big 8 championship in the last two seasons and Boone moved to 42-4 on the season.
Next, the Lady Blazers will enter the region 1-AAA tournament, joining Science Hill, Jefferson County, and the team that ended their season last year, Seymour.
The tournament was set to begin May 14 with Boone playing at home against Jefferson County. Science Hill will travel to Seymour to play the Lady Eagles.
Lady Pioneer’s strong season comes
to an end against familiar foe
The Lady Pioneers entered the district tournament against Tennessee High in Church Hill on May 5.
Crockett, with a 15-20 overall record, turned to freshman pitcher Madison Grindstaff in hopes of continuing their season.
Grindstaff answered the call in the biggest contest of her young career, allowing just four hits to a Lady Vikings’ squad that has seemed to have the Pioneers number this season, besting them several times in scheduled conference games and tournament contests alike.
After cruising through the first three innings of a shutout, Grindstaff put one Lady Viking on with a walk. Tennessee High’s Mackie Carr took advantage, smashing a homerun to put the Pioneers behind 2-0 going to the fifth inning.
Despite outhitting the Lady Vikings by collecting six hits to just four, Crockett could never push a runner across the plate.
Carr’s blast would be the only runs Grindstaff gave up, but in the end, would prove enough to send the Lady Pioneers home for the season in the opening round of the tournament.
After putting together one of their strongest seasons in recent years, the Lady Pioneers are expected to be even better next year, losing just two seniors from this year’s team, Sydney Grindstaff and Ashley Delavega.
Baseball Blazers fall short
After a strong regular season, the Blazers opened the district tournament by eliminating Crockett before narrowly falling to Science Hill.
With elimination on the line, the Blazers found themselves in a pivotal contest against Sullivan South on May 7.
Boone’s Seth Smith would prove to be the deciding factor in the Blazers 7-6 win.
Smith blasted a two-run homerun in the top half of the first inning to give Boone the early lead. But South came back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game.
Boone scored once in the second and third innings, with South doing the same. With the game knotted up, Smith came through again for Boone in the fifth, hitting his second round tripper of the contest, a two-run shot that put the Blazers ahead 6-4. But the lead was short lived as the South bats responded in the bottom half to again tie the game.
After a scoreless sixth for both squads, the Blazers opened the seventh with a Daniel Cox triple, the eventual go-ahead run.
Boone closed out South in the home half of the seventh to capture the 7-6 win and advance to yet another elimination game.
Cox received the win for the Blazers but it was Smith who was the hero, finishing 3-for-3 on the day with two homeruns and five RBIs.
After an emotional victory the night before, Boone entered the May 8 contest against Science Hill a game away from earning a spot in the regional tournament. But the highly favored Hilltoppers put an end to the Blazers’ Cinderella season in a dominating 12-0 win. The Blazers were held to just one hit in the shortened contest.
While the loss ended Boone’s season, the Blazers exceeded expectations finishing the season 21-13, including a third place finish in the district tournament.