By Curtis Carden
It is nearly crunch time for local high school teams.
We’re currently in the last full week of regular season games and the postseason is around the bend. The teams at Unicoi County High School are feeling the excitement after a busy week across northeast Tennessee.
“Grady’s Ladies” are starting to look like the Lady Devils of old after a busy stretch in the annual Tiny Day/Red Edmonds tournament held in Greene County. With girls clicking at the plate at the right time, Sunday’s contest with Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) proved to be a telling sign of how the team is progressing. CAK soundly defeated the Lady Devils in the substate round last season.
CAK pitcher Allison Zimmerman was the ace in the hand against UCHS, but the Lady Devils were able to hold their own. With sophomore Halie Padgett complimenting senior Abby Hensley in the circle, the pitching is solid. Adding to a solid performance in the circle, the ladies have continually belted more than 10 hits in recent games.
During media day activities with The Erwin Record, head coach Grady Lingerfelt alluded to the ladies potentially taking their lumps in regular season tournaments, but being prepared by postseason time. With a 27-14 record to their credit prior to The Erwin Record’s press deadline, words couldn’t ring any truer.
• • •
Head coach Megan Davis continues to see the UCHS track and field program build a solid foundation for the coming years.
A special “tip-of-the-cap” goes to the program’s athletes. Track and field meets are often scheduled hours away from Unicoi County and the students travel to participate in events and prepare for postseason time. It is a testament to the students and the coaches for working to build on the previous success garnered by the likes of former head coach Randy Brewer and turn the track and field program into a regular contender year in and year out.
After an exciting time in the Three Rivers Conference meet last week, expect UCHS to build off the momentum as athletes have the opportunity to punch tickets for the Spring Fling.
• • •
UCHS baseball, tennis and soccer teams are also showing signs of making things interesting come district tournament time.
The Blue Devil baseball team is coming off a busy time in the Tribe Classic. While the wins didn’t go in favor of Blue Nation, the guys saw a trio of Class AAA teams and a powerhouse team from Virginia with a pair of wins over Elizabethton to their credit.
Caleb Wilson is leading the charge on the mound, while Dylan Putman, Gabe Thomas and Troy Podvin are adding an extra element on the mound. If defensive miscues stop compounding, the Blue Devils could be in familiar territory two weeks from now in Kingsport in the district tournament.
The Blue Devil tennis team is also making waves, while the soccer team, in its first year, will be a scary opponent for whichever team draws them in the district.
• • •
Be sure to stay up to date with The Erwin Record online and each Wednesday’s print issue for information on high school and middle school teams looking to end the 2016 season on a high npte for Blue Nation.