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Archives 05-18-2005


Sports

 


LA Wildcats win District 7-AA Tournament

LA Tennis ends season with individual play

Soccer Cats win District Tournament
Lady Cats end season in tournament

 

LA Wildcats win District 7-AA Tournament

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Members of the 2005 District 7-AA Tournament champion Livingston Academy Wildcats baseball team are, kneeling from left, Cody Winton, Andrew Neff, Todd Smith, Clint Durham, Tyler Thrasher, Andrew Dixon, Josh Coffman, second row, Assistant Coach Jamie Loftis, Anthony Matthews, Tyler Sells, Johnny Cyrus, John Ward, Chris Nelson, Shane Livingston, Cody Sells, Brian Colson, Jimmy Davidson, Jon Maynard, Coach Pat Swallows, back row, Daniel Elder, Mark Barnett, Matt Lee, Griffin Lee, Curt Gilbert, Assistant Coach Grant Swallows, and Zach Ramsey.

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
One more goal became a reality for the Livingston Academy Wildcats baseball team last week when they claimed the District 7-AA Tournament championship at home against Cannon County.

"Our goal all year was to be in the district championship, and we realized our goal," LA Baseball Coach Pat Swallows said.

"We got there and faced a team that had been hot for a couple of weeks."

Cannon County grabbed the lead with 2 runs in the first inning, but LA responded with 4 in the bottom of the inning. A Tyler Thrasher triple followed by a Brian Colson home run added 2 more runs in the second inning to give LA a 6-2 lead.

Then, the Lions smelled blood in the third inning and jumped on the Cats for 7 runs, to take a 9-6 lead.

"Shane Livingston started the game, but didn't have his best stuff," Coach Swallows said. "Then, Griffin Lee came in and was a little rocky at first, giving up a home run right off the bat. Then he settled down and threw pretty decent."

The decision to use sophomore Griffin Lee was made with an eye toward the possibility of a second championship game that night.

"Tyler had thrown on Saturday, and, you never want to think past what you're doing, but yet, because we were behind at that time, if we were to have to go to a second game I wanted to have somebody of a pretty good caliber that was ready to go," Coach Swallows said. "Because they were going to have to be out of pitching, and here we are with our number two ready to go in a second game."

But LA fought back in the bottom of the third inning. With 2 outs, the Cats brought home 3 runs to tie the game. They later plated 3 more runs to go ahead 12-9.

"It was just a great team effort again," Coach Swallows said. "They played with a lot of confidence, and played together."

That confidence and team spirit led to Coach Swallows bringing in his ace, Cody Sells, in the closer role.

"I didn't want to use him," Coach Swallows said. "I brought him in just to get us out, and I was going to put somebody else back in for the next inning, but I listen to my kids. They all wanted him to stay in, and he felt like he was strong enough to stay in, and he wanted to stay in.

"This is why we talk about team and team building and working together.

"He didn't give up any hits," Coach Swallows said. "He wasn't as sharp because he had just pitched Monday night. Yet, he was good enough to get us out of a couple of tight situations to win the game."

Each of the LA pitchers threw 2-1/3 innings in the championship win.

"Griffin ended up getting the win, his first of the year, which is pretty huge - to get your first varsity win in a district championship game," Coach Swallows said.

"We did a lot of positive things in that game. With two outs, two different times, we started rallies that either got us back in the game or got us ahead in the game.

"Earlier in the year we had trouble with getting behind and getting down on ourselves and started pressing a little bit. We did not do that Wednesday, which is one of the main reasons that we won the ballgame.

"We were able to keep our composure and continue doing what's got us where we are.

"We were very proud of them. They worked hard and deserved this." The bats were alive and well for LA in the championship win.

"Everybody in our lineup got a hit," Coach Swallows said.

Along with hitting the 2-run homer, Brian Colson went 3 for 3 and scored 3 runs. Jimmy Davidson hit 2 doubles, drove in a run, and scored a run. Andrew Dixon had 2 hits, drove in 2 runs, and scored 3 twice. Tyler Thrasher went 3 for 3 with 2 RBI, and scored 3 times. Cody Sells had a hit, drove in 2 runs, and scored a run. Johnny Cyrus went 3 for 4 with a run batted in, and scored a run. Jon Maynard had a hit and scored a run. Chris Nelson and John Ward each had a hit.

As one of the final 32 teams still going in Class AA, the Livingston Academy Wildcats were scheduled to host Greenbrier on Monday, May 16 in the single-elimination round of the region tournament.

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LA Tennis ends season with individual play

By LEAH THOMAS, OCN Sports
The Livingston Academy Tennis Team competed in the Individual Districts on Monday, May 9 and Tuesday, May 10.

Representing Livingston Academy in the first round were Leah Thomas and Lacy Carmack in singles, and Amber Carmack and Danielle Ray and Rhiannon Voss and Ashley Taylor in doubles.

Thomas won in singles play and the team of Amber Carmack and Danielle Ray won in doubles to move on to the quarterfinals.

Amber Carmack and Danielle Ray lost in the semifinals on Tuesday. The LA girls finished their season 3rd in the district.

The LA boys also competed in Individual Districts. Representing Livingston Academy were Andy Sathern and Brad Ledbetter in singles, and David Johnson and Randy Boswell in doubles. The LA boys played hard and had a great season.

LA Tennis Team Coach Scott Cole stated that the boys team got a really bad draw for the districts, and that he's very proud of the girls after having lost last year's top five.

"Next year looks bright for the girls," he said.

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Soccer Cats win District Tournament

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Members of the district champion Livingston Academy Wildcats soccer team are, kneeling from left, Josh Foster, B.J. Byers, Hunter Burnett, Joey Green, Ben Jolley, James Dellapace, Cody Penticuff, Aeric Gunnels, Casey Ledbetter, Cory Cross, Luke Huffman, Jonathan Emrich, standing, trainer Chuck Wheeler, David Brady, Logan Huffman, Matt Myers, Jeff Cummings, Jacob Pennington, Graham Goodman, Blake Vaughn, Wesley Puckett, Alex Gunnels, Westley Burnett, Jonathan McGill, Matt Anderson, Andy Gunnels, and Coach Ethan King.

By BETH UNDERWOOD, OCN Sports
A 7-1 victory over Mt. Juliet Christian Academy early last week was just what Livingston Academy ordered, as the win pitted the soccer team against Friendship Christian School for the district title.

"The team was wanting to make it back to the finals and maybe have another shot at FCS," said Coach Ethan King.

With the shot in hand, LA took full advantage, capturing an early lead on a goal by Alex Gunnels. But a penalty kick by FCS tied the score before halftime.

"That was their second of the game and third against us," King said. "FCS knew how to draw the call and did it well."

The tie was quickly broken after the first half, though, when B.J. Byers got a shot by the keeper on a breakaway.

"It is not often you see such composure out of a freshman," King said. "He came through in a big way."

With the second half still young, the game was far from over. And as if there weren't enough action on the field, the bleachers heated up as well, as a fan was ejected from the game.

LA's Jacob Pennington responded moments after the restart, drilling a cross from Wes Puckett into the goal.

"It was one of the prettiest goals I've seen all year," King said.

In the hard-fought 3-1 LA victory, the FCS coach drew a yellow card before game's end as well.

"I am most proud of the way the team conducted themselves during and after the game," King said. "These young men are a class act and represented their school and community well."

LA faced Springfield on Tuesday, May 17 in the regional semi-finals. The rivals will compete in a rematch of last year's regional finals.

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Lady Cats end season in tournament

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Ashley Howard pitched Livingston Academy to a 9-1 tournament win over Cannon County on Wednesday, May 11.

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
Close, but yet so far, the Lady Wildcats softball team's season ended with a 1-run loss in the District 7-AA Tournament played last week at Livingston Academy.

"We had a pretty good year," LA Softball Coach Mike Johnson said. "Our final record was 19-14, which was an improvement on last year's winning season."

The Lady Cats opened tournament play against Jackson County on Monday, May 9, and won 5-0.

Ashley Howard pitched a 3-hit shutout, striking out 8 Lady Blue Devils along the way.

"Jackson County wasn't swinging the bat very well," Coach Johnson said.

Offensively, Brittany McDonald went 2 for 3, hitting 2 doubles, and she scored a run. Stasha Babb went 2 for 3, Andrea Borden hit a 2-run triple and scored a run, Jessica Lee had a hit and scored a run, and Lisa Reeder scored 2 runs.

"We scored 2 runs in the first and 3 runs in the sixth," Coach Johnson said. "Every now and again we'll have a good inning, but we just can't consistently produce runs like we should've all year long."

The inability to score runs was waiting in the next tournament game, against undefeated Smith County.

"We probably played one of our best games against Smith County this year," Coach Johnson said. "We lost 1-2 in the end, but holding that team to only 2 runs is a big thing. They can kill the ball."

The Lady Cats scored on the Owlettes in the third inning and held the lead until the fifth inning.

"We were in good position to win that game," Coach Johnson said.

Smith County tied the game in the fifth, and as the home team for tournament purposes, had the last at-bat in the seventh inning. With 2 outs, the Owlettes mustered 3 straight hits and drove in the winning run.

"They were ripe for the pickin's," Coach Johnson said of Smith County's vulnerability in the game. "They were ready to get beat. We just couldn't do it. We couldn't pull it out in the end."

A great effort by senior Tara Taylor went by the wayside in the loss.

"Tara Taylor pitched really well," Coach Johnson said. "She gave up 9 hits, but only gave up 2 runs. We had some good defense in the game, and Tara struck out 11 batters.

"Tara really gave us a chance to win the game, we just couldn't produce on offense. We just had 4 hits."

Those 4 hits belonged to Ashley Howard, Stasha Babb, Brittany McDonald, and Jessica McDonald, with Jessica McDonald scoring the only run for LA.

"That loss dropped us to the loser's bracket," Coach Johnson said. "On Wednesday, we played Cannon County and took out a little frustration on them. We won 9-1.

"We played really well. We hit the ball, and made a lot of good decisions on the basepaths and in the batter's box. We didn't swing at bad pitches.

"We had 13 hits in the game, just pounded the ball. Seven out of the 9 people that batted hit, and 7 of the 9 scored runs. So, almost everybody scored and almost everybody hit."

Jessica McDonald reached base all 4 times she went to bat, going 3 for 3 and being hit by a pitch. She also scored a run.

Brittany McDonald went 2 for 3 and was hit by a pitch, and also scored a run. Lisa Reeder went 2 for 3, hitting a triple and a double, and scored 2 runs. Jessica Lee went 2 for 4, and scored 2 runs. Andrea Borden went 2 for 3, and Stasha Babb, Kirstie Dillon, and Ashley McDonald each scored a run.

"We had a great offensive outing in that game."

Ashley Howard was the winning pitcher, giving up only 2 hits.

"She had a 12-inning scoreless streak broken in the sixth inning of that game," Coach Johnson said.

The game ended on LA's first 6-4-3 double play of the year.

"That doesn't happen much in softball," Coach Johnson said.

The Lady Cats entered the Thursday, May 12 game against DeKalb County knowing that a win would move them into the region tournament, and a loss would end their season.

"We had to win the first game, and we just couldn't," Coach Johnson said. LA lost 4-5.

"We started off well," Coach Johnson said. "We scored 3 runs in the first inning. For the next six innings, we could only score 1 run.

"It was tied 4-4 going into the last inning, and they had 4 straight hits and drove a run in. That's all it took.

"We just don't seem to be able to close out the real tough games this year."

Both senior pitchers, Tara Taylor and Ashley Howard, pitched in the game.

"Neither one of them could really stop them though," Coach Johnson said. "They both pitched in that last inning.

"We did all we could do to win it and stay in it, but we came up one run short."

Jessica McDonald went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles, and she had 3 RBI. Jessica Lee went 2 for 4 and scored a run, and Stasha Babb, Brittany McDonald, and Lisa Reeder scored the other runs for LA.

"We had too many strikeouts," Coach Johnson said. "Four of the 7 innings, the last out was a strikeout. We just couldn't produce the runs we needed."

The 1-run loss seemed to be a theme for the season, with 10 games decided by a single run and winning only 3 of them.

"We were so close all year long," Coach Johnson said.

Three Lady Wildcats earned District 7-AA honors. Tara Taylor was named First Team All-District, and Stasha Babb and Lisa Reeder were named Second Team All-District.

The Lady Wildcats say goodbye to six departing seniors - Ashley Howard, Tara Taylor, Brittany McDonald, Jessica Lee, Andrea Borden, and Stasha Babb.

"We are losing a lot of experience right there for next year," Coach Johnson said.

For the 2005 season, Brittany McDonald batted .404, Stasha Babb batted .374, Tara Taylor batted .333, Andrea Borden batted .329, Jessica Lee batted .315, and Ashley Howard batted .288.

"Ashley Howard and Tara Taylor were both really good all year," Coach Johnson said of his pitchers, ̉but you wouldn't believe the similarities.

"They both won 9 games, both pitching 92 innings.

"They both faced 373 batters.

"Their total pitch count was only 9 pitches off.

"They both did a great job this year. It was a luxury to have two good pitchers."

The future may still be bright for Livingston Academy pitching.

"We've got two pretty good ones coming up," Coach Johnson said. "They've been working a lot, so maybe we'll be alright next year."

 

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