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Lady Trailblazers own Eastman Invitational

For the first time since 2009, the Eastman Invitational will have a new champion.
The Lady Blazers of Daniel Boone High School captured the area’s biggest softball tournament on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Seymour, ending Unicoi County’s three-year reign as tournament champion.
The Eastman Invitational is the area’s largest softball tournament, attracting teams from Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and outside the region.
This year marked the 16th time the tournament was played, with 32 teams competing for the championship.
The Lady Pioneers of David Crockett High School joined rival Boone in the event.
From the first pitch thrown out this season, there were few doubts regarding the Lady Blazers’ potential.
Now sitting at 24-0 overall and the recent winner of the Eastman Invitational, Boone has lived up to and even exceeded a lot of expectations.
The Lady Blazers opened the week on March 26 with an 11-0 win over Virginia High, a 3-0 win over Dobyns-Bennett on March 27 and a 19-2 thrashing of Tennessee High on March 28.
They opened play at the Eastman Invitational on March 29 with exhibition games to determine seeding at the event.
They continued their winning ways, notching victories over Sullivan East and Morristown West.
The Lady Blazers opened pool play on March 30, winning 10-0 over Sullivan North and 10-0 against Cocke County.
On Saturday morning, Boone continued to pile up the wins by defeating J.I. Burton 13-0 and finishing pool play perfect with a 5-1 victory over Cookeville.
The Blazers entered the round of 16 as the top seed and narrowly escaped a Saturday shocker against 16 seeded Lawrence County 5-4.
Boone moved to the final four of the bracket on April 1 by defeating Tennessee High 6-2.
After notching a 7-0 victory over Morristown East, the Lady Blazers found themselves in the championship game against a familiar opponent in Seymour.
The Lady Blazers saw their softball season come to an end in the postseason at the hands of the Lady Eagles of Seymour 2-1 last season.
In the Eastman Invitational championship game, it was Boone’s turn to play spoiler, shutting out the Lady Eagles 3-0 to capture the tournament championship.
Blazer senior pitcher Kellie Waycaster earned the win for the Lady Blazers, allowing only four hits through seven innings.
The Blazers Natalie Sheffey was selected as the tournament MVP with Waycaster and Jessie Wheelock joining her as all-tournament selections.
CROCKETT advanceS into round of 16 WITH stellar pool play
The Lady Pioneers opened last week with a 6-3 loss to Tennessee High before making noise in the Eastman Invitational.
The March 27 contest against the Lady Vikings would be the first of two matchups the Lady Pioneers would see of their Big 8 counterpart in the span of five days, later going head-to-head in Kingsport at the Invitational.
In the first meeting, a four-run third put the Lady Pioneers behind early, and proved too much to overcome.
Crockett was led by Kathryn Woodfin who finished 2-of-3 at the plate.
The resilient Lady Pioneers returned to play at the Invitational on March 30 with pool games.
Crockett, playing in Pool 3, finished the first day without a loss, defeating South-Doyle 3-2 and McKinley of Ohio 4-1.
The Lady Pioneers pushed their record to 3-0 in the tournament on March 31 with an 8-0 win over Richlands.
In their second game of the day, the Lady Pioneers were defeated by three-time returning champion Unicoi County, 4-0.
Having finished pool play at 3-1, the Pioneers advanced to the championship round of 16 as a nine seed where they met a familiar foe in the Lady Vikings of Tennessee High.
The eight seeded Vikings were once again Crockett’s kryptonite, eliminating the Pioneers from the tournament by a score of 8-5.
Still, the young Pioneers had an encouraging tournament that could provide momentum in their upcoming games.
The Pioneers were led in the tournament by Madison Grindstaff and Gail Hooks.
Grindstaff finished with two wins and Hooks with one in the circle. Hooks was also one of the Pioneers best hitters finishing the tournament with a .467 average at the plate.