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Area teams set sights on regional championships

Douglas Fritz • May 12, 2019 at 9:04 PM

When spring sports began in March, optimistic teams set their sights on Murfreesboro.

For the teams still in the hunt this week, the Spring Fling dream is just two wins away.

Action begins Monday with the region semifinals in baseball and softball. Soccer follows suit Tuesday.

And while there is the matter of a region championship in between, semifinal winners punch their tickets to the sectional round — where a berth in the state tournament is at stake.

The bonus for winning the region title is a home game for the sectional — which is Friday for baseball and softball, and Saturday for soccer.

Also this week, sectional team tennis battles are on the schedule.

Here is a look at all of the Region 1 action with the predicted champion for each tournament.



Monday’s semifinals  
1-AAA Time
Jefferson County (16-18) at Science Hill (25-11) 6 p.m.
Tennessee High (25-11) at Sevier County (26-8) 6 p.m.
Claiborne (12-15) at Elizabethton (24-7) 6 p.m.
Sullivan South (20-11) at Greeneville (28-6) 6 p.m.
North Greene (23-11) at Greenback (24-9) 6 p.m.
Tuesday’s semifinal  
Washburn (7-14) vs. UH (24-12) at Thomas Stadium 6 p.m.


Science Hill may have gotten a break when Jefferson County bumped off Seymour last week because, at one point this season, the Patriots were 7-15. But since an April 18 win over Elizabethton, the Patriots have gone 9-3. They also clipped Dobyns-Bennett 4-3 during that stretch. Still, they were crushed 11-1 by Sevier County in the District 2-AAA title game, and the Hilltoppers are a strong favorite.

Tennessee High’s battle with Sevier County looks like a tossup, so give the Smoky Bears a slight home-field edge.

Predicted champion: Science Hill


Elizabethton is a strong favorite in the semifinals against Claiborne, but the Cyclones know how that role went last year. Against West Greene, Elizabethton trailed 2-0 in the fifth inning and needed Evan Perkins’ walk-off single to keep its season alive.

In the other matchup, Sullivan South has its hands full against defending state champion Greeneville. The Rebels can flat out hit the baseball, but the Greene Devils are No. 4 in the state in runs allowed per game with 2.5. They’ve held opponents to two or fewer runs 21 times in 34 games.

Predicted champion: Greeneville


University High has experience for the potential path ahead. Last year, the Buccaneers hammered their semifinal opponent before losing to Greenback.

They are a strong favorite this year against Washburn in a game moved to Tuesday at 6 p.m. at East Tennessee State’s Thomas Stadium. A win likely means a rematch with the Cherokees; North Greene would need a fairly significant upset to knock off Greenback.

Predicted champion: Greenback



Monday’s semifinals Time
Jefferson County (18-10) at Daniel Boone (44-6) 6 p.m.
Science Hill (31-10) at Morristown East (35-5) 6 p.m.
Grainger (13-11) at Unicoi County (35-9) 6 p.m.
Tuesday’s semifinal  
Sullivan East (26-15) at Greeneville (29-8) 6 p.m.
Greenback (23-8) at Unaka (21-21) 5:30 p.m.
Cloudland (21-15) at Cosby (14-8) 5:30 p.m.


Jefferson County may not carry a shiny record like Daniel Boone’s 44-6 mark, but the Lady Patriots have plenty of confidence because they produced one of those six losses — a 7-5 decision just two weeks ago on Boone’s field.

Like the Lady Trailblazers, Morristown East has an impressive record (35-5). But Science Hill has played Boone tough all year, so it should be prepared for this type of challenge.

Predicted champion: Daniel Boone


Grainger and Unicoi County locked up in a tight battle during the NFS tournament in Erwin earlier this season, a 9-8 Lady Devils win. Look for another tight battle this time.

Greeneville and Sullivan East should be a dandy. Greeneville has scored double-digit runs 19 times this season and the Lady Patriots have hit that mark on 13 occasions.

Predicted champion: Greeneville


Unaka and Cloudland figure to see each other once again as each will be favored in the semifinals against Greenback and Cosby, respectively. The Lady Rangers and Lady Highlanders have already played five times with Cloudland winning three.

Predicted champion: Unaka



Tuesday’s semifinals Time
Morristown West (7-4-2) at Science Hill (11-6-2) 7 p.m.
Dobyns-Bennett (17-2-1) at Bearden (16-2) 7 p.m.
Pigeon Forge at Greeneville (14-3-3)  
Elizabethton (12-3-1) at Sevier County (13-6-1) 6 p.m.
Berean Christian (5-4-1) at Chuckey-Doak (9-7) 6 p.m.
University High (14-4) at Gatlinburg-Pittman (12-3-1) 7 p.m.


Throughout the course of the season, Dobyns-Bennett has authored 14 shutouts in 20 games. Four times the Indians allowed one goal. The other games were against Science Hill, which has scored six goals in three matches and beaten the Indians twice.

The latter of those setbacks means the Indians were handed the more difficult chore of traveling to face Bearden in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Science Hill stays at home against underdog Morristown West.

Predicted champion: Dobyns-Bennett


Elizabethton will have its hands full against a Sevier County team that has been very strong this season against Class AA competition. If they can solve the Smoky Bears, the Cyclones would likely be looking at Greeneville again in the finals.

Predicted champion: Greeneville


Losing to Chuckey-Doak in the district championship sent the Bucs on the road to take on the defending state champion.

Gatlinburg-Pittman entered the postseason 7-7 last year before getting hot at the right time. This year the Highlanders are 12-3-1 with losses to teams with records of 16-2 (Bearden), 16-1-1 (Knox Catholic) and 10-3-2 (Austin-East).

Predicted champion: Gatlinburg-Pittman



Large School boys

Science Hill will meet Knox Catholic on Wednesday with a berth in the state tournament on the line. Catholic had a strong history at the Class A-AA level, but is looking for its first Class AAA berth since a state runner-up finish in 2013.

Large School girls

Dobyns-Bennett seeks a second straight state berth when it takes on Catholic on Friday morning. Catholic’s only Class AAA state appearance came in 2013, but the Lady Irish won Class A-AA titles in 2016 and 2017.

Small School girls

Johnson County’s girls will try to earn a small-school state tournament appearance when they host Gatlinburg-Pittman later this week. The Lady Longhorns and Lady Highlanders are each seeking their first-ever state tournament berth.



The Region 1 Large School event will take place at Dobyns-Bennett on Monday. It is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

The Region 1 Small School tournament is set for Monday in Greeneville.