Just a week or two removed from a wintry early spring, area teams are already in the stretch run.
This is the final full week of regular season contests as district tournaments are scheduled to begin at the end of next week.
Science Hill is still in the process of trying to run the table in the Big Eight Conference in baseball. Heading into Monday’s home game against Daniel Boone, the Hilltoppers (9-0, 20-4) hadn’t lost to an area team all season. Their losses were against Murfreesboro Siegel, Murfreesboro Riverdale, Noblesville, Ind., and Hardin Valley.
In the Three Rivers Conference, there’s a good chance the issue will be settled today as Unicoi County travels to Elizabethton. The Blue Devils won 10-3 at Elizabethton, but lost 2-0 at home to the Cyclones. Today’s rubber game is at O’Brien Field in Elizabethton, starting at 5 p.m.
Three Rivers teams play 15 league games. Heading into Monday’s games, Unicoi (11-1) and Elizabethton (10-1) handed each other their only league loss.
In the Watauga Valley Conference, North Greene remains in control but Unaka still has a voice. The Huskies (3-0) and Rangers (5-1) have been rained out two times this season.
They will give it another try Saturday at Unaka. Their other game is set for Monday at North Greene.
Unicoi County’s track team has enjoyed a record-setting spring as five school marks have fallen.
On April 2, Gabe Simmerly broke the 14-year-old 200-meter dash mark with a time of 23.6. A week later, Kyle Greene broke the 40-year-old pole vault record with a leap of 13 feet, 6 inches.
Also on April 9, Richie Farmer broke the 400-meter mark with a time of 54.96.
On April 11, Kyle broke his own record, soaring to a height of 14 feet, 2 inches. The Class A-AA state championship leap in 2012 was 12 feet, 6 inches. In both 2011 and 2010, a leap of 13-6 was a winner.
Then on April 13, Simmerly ran into the record books with a time of 54.31 in the 400 meters.
These Blue Devils athletes are on pace to make some postseason noise. The sub-sectionals will be held May 7 at Greeneville. The sectional is May 14 at Christian Academy of Knoxville.
Proving it is still dangerous even though wounded, Science Hill’s soccer team bounced back from its loss to rival Dobyns-Bennett with a 4-1 win over Tennessee High last week.
Then the Hilltoppers held off Morristown West by a score of 1-0.
Science Hill (8-3-1) will travel to face Daniel Boone today, and play host to Elizabethton on Wednesday.
Coming up this weekend, the Hilltoppers face a couple of road challenges against Knox Farragut (10-3-0) and Hardin Valley Academy. Although Hardin Valley is just 4-4-2 on the season, the Hilltoppers have a history with the Hawks.
The two teams played for the 2011 Class AAA state championship, with Hardin winning 2-0. Last season, Science Hill ended Hardin’s repeat bid with a 4-1 decision in the sectional round.
Science Hill closes out its regular season at David Crockett (April 30) and home for Greeneville (May 2).
University High’s soccer team is 7-1 on the season after Thursday’s 10-1 whipping of Cumberland Gap.
The Junior Bucs have a key Three Rivers/Blue Ridge Conference contest today at Elizabethton.
On Thursday, UH will have the opportunity to play at ETSU’s stadium. The Junior Bucs will play host to Sullivan Central at 6 p.m.
Another big league game awaits on April 30 as the Junior Bucs travel to face Greeneville with the regular season title likely on the line.
Prep signings: Johnson County’s Daniel Helm will make his college choice official Wednesday.
The Longhorns’ senior will sign to play baseball at Milligan College. The ceremony is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at the high school cafeteria. …
Tennessee High recently had a pair of athletes make their college decisions. Sarah Percy signed with Asbury University for soccer while Mackenzie Wood will head to Columbia College to play volleyball.
Baseball games of the week — (Today) Daniel Boone at Sullivan South, Unicoi County at Elizabethton, Happy Valley at Sullivan East, (Wednesday) Science Hill at Sullivan South, (Thursday) Unicoi County at Daniel Boone, (Friday) Elizabethton at Daniel Boone, (Saturday) Knox Bearden at Science Hill, North Greene at Unaka.
Elizabethton was surging as it headed into Monday night’s doubleheader against Johnson County — winning 10 games in a row.
Meanwhile, Unicoi County bounced back from a 2-0 defeat to the Cyclones with five straight wins heading into Monday’s game against Sullivan East. …
Daniel Boone and Sullivan South are battling to stay out of that 4-5 first-round district tournament matchup. They were tied for third place heading into Monday’s games.
Elizabethton scratches its way up a spot to No. 4 in this week’s Prep Top 10 baseball rankings.
Team W-L Prv
1. Unicoi County 17-2 1
2. Science Hill 20-4 2
3. Dobyns-Bennett 20-4 3
4. Elizabethton 16-8 5
5. Sullivan South 16-10 4
6. Daniel Boone 12-10 6
7. Tennessee High 10-8 8
8. Happy Valley 14-8 9
9. North Greene 14-3 7
10. Sullivan East 10-9 nr
Softball games of the week — (Today) Volunteer at Science Hill, Elizabethton at Sullivan East, (Thursday) Science Hill at David Crockett, Elizabethton at Unicoi County, (Friday-Saturday) East Tennessee Classic at Science Hill, (Monday) Unicoi County at Daniel Boone.
It’s an important week for the Lady Hilltoppers as they try to hold on to second place in the Big Eight Conference before playing host for a weekend tournament. …
David Crockett has a chance to continue making noise, especially in Thursday’s contest.
David Crockett and University High each edge up a spot in this week’s softball rankings.
Team W-L Prv
1. Daniel Boone 28-4 1
2. Unicoi County 20-5 2
3. Elizabethton 18-8 3
4. Greeneville 20-4 4
5. Science Hill 19-12 5
6. Dobyns-Bennett 18-15 6
7. David Crockett 12-12 8
8. Volunteer 15-13 7
9. University High 15-9 10
10. Tennessee High 12-13 9