By TREY WILLIAMS
If David Crockett senior Cade Larkins wasn’t going to East Tennessee State to play quarterback, many at Crockett say, he could play baseball for the Buccaneers.
“Cade throws bombs and he hits bombs,” said David Crockett athletic director Josh Kite, who played baseball at Chuckey-Doak and ETSU before pitching four seasons in the minors for Cleveland and Detroit. “He could play (college baseball).”
Former David Crockett and East Tennessee State standout Clinton Freeman raves about Larkins’ baseball skills.
“I think he’s as good as any hitter around here,” Freeman said, “and baseball’s just been something to do when he isn’t playing football.”
Second-year Crockett coach Spencer Street, who played at Science Hill and Milligan College for Bernie Young, among others, was all but chuckling while talking about a “shot” Larkins hit for a home run at Volunteer last week.
“He’s as naturally gifted a baseball player as I’ve seen since I played,” Street said. “He does no summer ball, no lessons, no showcases, no travel ball, and he’s always going to hit the ball harder than anybody on the field that he’s against 99.99 percent of the time.”
Larkins, who will pitch and play center field this season, leads Crockett in nearly every hitting category during a 4-1 start that included two wins against Elizabethton. He is 10-for-19 (.526) with two home runs and 10 RBIs. The RBIs are as many as any two teammates’ combined totals. He also leads the team in doubles (three) and has one of the Pioneers’ two triples.
Larkins led the team in hitting (.467) in 2019 and tied for the team lead with four home runs.
Isaac Stephens and Nolan Miller are also off to hot starts for Crockett. Stephens is 7-for-14 (.500) and Miller is 5-for-11 (.455) with two doubles and a home run.
Miller (1-0) also started smoothly on the mound. He allowed one earned run in seven innings in a win against Elizabethton. He gave up three hits and struck out five while allowing no walks.
Cody Wheeley (1-0) hasn’t allowed an earned run in four innings.
Daniel Boone Baseball
Tennessee signee Cade Elliott allowed one run in six innings in Daniel Boone’s 5-0 win against Elizabethton on March 9 at Clarence Mabe Field. Elliott, the 2019 Big Seven Conference player of the year, struck out 10 and walked two. He allowed one hit – a single to Karson Dillard in the fourth inning.
First-year Boone coach Scott Hagy coached 20 years at Crockett, and among those he coached, Elliott’s talent evokes memories of a player the caliber of Clinton Freeman.
“They’re tremendous players,” Hagy said, “and tremendous young men.”
Center fielder Brody Goodman pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and drove in three runs as the Trailblazers improved to 3-0 with a 9-2 win at Riverdale on Thursday.
“Brody’s leading off and doing well,” Hagy said. “We have good speed at the top.”
Right fielder Colby Backus and Gaven Jones each had three hits in Boone’s 15-3 win at Morristown East on March 10. Ryne Haney got the victory and delivered two hits at the plate.
Daniel Boone Softball
Daniel Boone’s softball team picked up where it left off while going 44-7 last season with a 19-0 win at Dobyns-Bennett on Thursday. Nickolette Ferguson allowed one hit, walked none and struck out six in the five-inning victory.
The Trailblazers piled up 17 hits. Speedy sophomore center fielder Briley Mesusan went 3-for-3 with a double, home run and four RBIs.
Senior shortstop Jaycie Jenkins transitioned seamlessly from basketball with a 3-for-4 outing. She had a double, home run and three RBIs.
Emma Robinette was also 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Ferguson was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, and powerful freshman Maci Masters was 2-for-4 with a home run, triple and two RBIs.
Boone was playing without first baseman Grayson Stevens, who was lost for the season to a knee injury suffered during basketball, second baseman
David Crockett Softball
David Crockett’s softball team opened the season by defeating Volunteer, 8-3, on Thursday.
Ashlyn Dulaney and Riley Hope each hit a home run and tallied three RBIs apiece. Dulaney went 3-for-3. Hope was 2-for-4 with two runs.
Alyssa Suits went 2-for-4 with a double.
Jenna Davis allowed two earned runs and no walks in the complete-game victory.