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Season over for Crockett and Boone baseball

An entire season came down to just one game for each of four teams, and only one escaped elimination over the weekend.
The opening of the district tournament in baseball and softball proved to be the end for both the Daniel Boone and David Crockett high school baseball teams as well as the Lady Pioneer softball team. Only the Lady Trailblazers of Boone move to the next round of the post-season tournaments.
Trailblazers ousted
The opening round of the district tournament at Dobyns-Bennett High School ended more than just a baseball season for the Trailblazers; it ended the high school athletic careers of a senior class that has been arguably one of the greatest in school history.
The senior trio of Kevin Connell, Hayden Chandley and Travis Keever has displayed its talents on the gridiron, the hardwood and the diamond for several years now, catapulting Boone to immense success.
But that came to an end on May 7, with fourth-seed Sullivan South defeating the fifth-seeded Blazers, 7-2.
The Blazers sent Connell to the mound while the Rebels elected to pitch a very rested Heath Haden. After giving up a run in the bottom half of the first inning, the Blazers responded with a two-run third on a Keever single to take a 2-1 lead.
Connell allowed base runners most of the contest, but continued to work himself out of jams with his power pitching. While Connell was strong early, Haden became better as he went along, refusing to allow any Boone runs after the third inning.
A combination of bunt singles and the Rebel long ball led to the undoing of the Blazers in the fifth and sixth inning. The Rebels scored four runs in the fifth and added two more in the sixth to take a 7-2 advantage.
Boone threatened with two base runners in the seventh, but it was squashed with a game-ending double play. The Blazers finished the season with an overall record of 18-13.
The past two seasons, Crockett has come out on top in postseason play against Tennessee High, eliminating the Vikings twice.
This postseason, revenge was the name of the game as Tennessee took their turn as eliminator, run-ruling the Pioneers after just five innings in an 11-1 defeat.
Looking to slow down a potent Viking offense, Crockett sent Joe Ganger to the mound.
But Crockett couldn’t find an answer on offense or defense for pitcher Chase Cunningham, who pitched five innings, allowing just one run in the top of the second and carried the Viking offense at the plate, hitting two homeruns while accounting for six RBIs.
Crockett tried three pitchers to slow the Tennessee High offense to no avail. The Pioneers finished the year 14-18 overall .
Before the season’s first pitch was thrown or first bat swung, the talent gap and experience level between the Lady Blazers and Lady Pioneers was no secret.
Boone remained very experienced and rich in talent while Crockett, although exceeding some expectations, struggled through much of the season.
This same predictability that the regular season showed continued once again at the start of the district tournament on May 6.
The Lady Pioneers narrowly grabbed the sixth seed, forcing an opening contest against the three-seeded Lady Falcons of Volunteer.
A Crockett offense that has improved leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season kept Volunteer on their toes. Crockett hitters combined for 10 hits, scoring four runs through four innings. A four-run fifth for Volunteer gave the Falcons a five-run lead with just two innings left.
The hot Crockett bats couldn’t keep up the offensive pace from earlier innings and Volunteer won 12-4. The loss eliminated the Lady Pioneers, who finished the season at 9-22.
The only Washington County team left competing after a tough tournament weekend is the softball gals of Boone.
The Lady Blazers (33-6) have put together a stellar season, capturing the overall one seed in the district. Boone opened postseason play against eight-seed Sullivan Central on May 6.
Looking to return to the state playoffs from a season ago, Boone’s sensational pitcher Kellie Waycaster entered the circle against Sullivan Central.
Waycaster allowed just one hit and posted another shutout on route to a 9-0 Boone win.
The Blazers were slow to get the bats going but after two scoreless innings, emerged with six runs in the third. Boone tacked on three more after the offensive outpour to grab the win easily.
The Blazers were led at the plate by Natalie Sheffey and Megan Walker, who each hit homeruns in the contest.
The Blazers continued in the district semifinals against Tennessee High on Monday. Check out next week’s Herald & Tribune for Lady Blazer tournament recap.