Four Region championships are up for grabs on the diamonds tonight, and each game features the team who won it a year ago.
Three of the four games are rematches from 2014, but let’s start with the one that isn’t, AAA Baseball. It’s a grudge match between top seeded Science Hill and District Runner-Up, Dobyns-Bennett. The Indians are the defending Region champ, while the Toppers’ seniors are in this game for the first time. Science Hill beat DB three out of four times this season, including twice at Cardinal Park in last week’s District Tournament. The question will be whether recent memory is the key or if experience at this time of year makes the difference.
The Indians’ seniors are 3-0 in Region finals, not allowing a single run in those three contests (11-0 vs. Sevier County in 2014, 1-0 vs. Sevier County in 2013, 4-0 vs. Jefferson County in 2012).
The last time the two rivals have played for a Region title was in 2007, when Science Hill won the last of three straight match ups at that juncture of the season. They play at 6:00 at Johnson City’s Cardinal Park.
In AA Baseball, we get a rematch of last year’s 7-3 Unicoi County win against Sullivan South. The Blue Devils took a little bit to get going this year, but they appear to have found their stride, sweeping their way to the District title and beating the Rebels twice in the process. That came after South won both regular season match ups.
Unicoi County is clearly the more seasoned playoff team of the two. 2014 was the first Region final appearance for Sullivan South since 2008, when they lost to Science Hill in AAA. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, won the 1-AA title in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 before taking it last year. They’ll play at 7:00 at Unicoi County’s Baxter Field.
In Greene County, we see another Region final rematch between the baseball squads from North Greene and South Greene. This series has been all Huskies recently. They are 4-0 against South Greene this year after finishing 4-0 against the Rebels in 2014.
In last year’s Region Championship, North Greene shut out South Greene, 6-0, capping a third straight Region title for North Greene. They hunt a perfect 4-0 at home, tonight at 6:00.
There’s only one softball game tonight, but it’s probably the most heated rivalry in Northeast Tennessee. Part of that is due to the experience of each team. We get Round 4 of Unicoi County and Greeneville in the Region 1-AA final, and it features 14 seniors playing a final Region tournament game.
Greeneville won this game 3-2 in 2012 at Unicoi County, the freshman year for this year’s senior laden teams. Unicoi County turned the tables at Greeneville in 2013, beating the Lady Greene Devils, 5-1. Then, Greeneville took the bats to Erwin last year, winning 9-0 at Unicoi County. Tonight’s contest is at 6:00 at Greeneville’s Hardin Park.
The teams are 1-1 against each other in 2015, both games being played at the Eastman Tournament. Greeneville won 2-1 in Pool Play, and the Lady Blue Devils returned the favor in the tournament championship, 3-1. Neither game went a full 7 innings, though, due to games being on a timer.
Counting the 1-AA District Tournament, Unicoi County is 5-0 in tournaments this year, taking titles at the East Tennessee Classic, Eastman Tournament, NFS Tournament, Tiny Day/Red Edmonds Classic and the District 1-AA Tournament.