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Archives 03-24-2010

Sports

Mitchell Hill signs with Tennessee Tech
Jr. Wildcats off to winning start
LA Wildcats jump out to 6-1 start
Lady Cats win first game for new softball coach

Mitchell Hill signs with Tennessee Tech


Craig Delk photo
Mitchell Hill of Cookeville High School was recently signed to Tennessee Technological University in the fall.

By Craig Delk,
Herald Citizen Sports

Cookeville High School senior Mitchell Hill will have to travel less than two miles for his collegiate athletic destination.

The Cavaliers’ all-time leading scorer on the hardwood with 1,649 points, Hill has an academic scholarship already in line with Tennessee Tech. He will also be a member of Mike Sutton’s Golden Eagles this fall as he makes the short trip from CHS to the Eblen Center.

“I would say it’s a dream come true. That would be a good way to sum it up,” said Hill, who led the Cavs with 22.2 points and 4.9 assists per game this season. “I’ve always grown up wanting to play for Tech. I’ve gone to their camps since I was a little kid. I’ve always wanted to play for them, and now to finally be able to have that opportunity is really special.”

As a 6-foot-1 guard for the Cavaliers, Hill helped them go perfect in District 6-AAA in the regular season and advance to the region quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. In the post-season, Hill passed former CHS teammate Judah Akers (1,621 points) and previous scoring record-holder Ronnie Robinson (1,635) to grab the No. 1 spot in Cavalier scoring history.

Hill — who is undecided about a major — is glad his friends and family will be able to support him during his time at TTU.

“A lot of my friends are staying at Tech, so that’s a good thing,” Hill said. “You don’t have to start over and make new friends. There’s a big comfort level with staying home and everything.

“Being close to my family, you know how close we are with basketball. We’ve always done that together,” Hill continued. “Me staying home, they get to be around me a lot more and get to watch all my games and everything. I think that’s gonna be a really cool part of it, just to be around everyone that I’m used to.”

Cavs coach Kevin Bray said Hill is deserving of the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.

“I am very glad for him to have that opportunity,” Bray said. “There isn’t anybody who deserves it more, as hard as he’s worked to get where he is as a basketball player. I hope he’ll have a good career at Tech.”

While Hill is ready to embark on his collegiate career, his high school playing days aren’t quite done after he was selected to play in the Basketball Coaches Association of Tennessee/Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association all-star game. The contest will take place Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Middle Tennessee Christian School.

“I’m honored to be selected for that. I’m really fortunate to be picked for that,” Hill said. “There’s gonna be a lot of great players out there, and I’m gonna try to hold my own and everything.”

Added Bray, “They called me sometime this past week to tell me, and that’s just what I thought, just what a big honor it is to be invited to play in that game. And to play in that game with several tremendous high school players that are gonna be in Division I next year, it’s a great honor.”

Bray has coached in the game before in 2001, but said Hill is his first player to be selected as a participant.

Hill is planning on making the contest a low-stress experience during which he simply enjoys being on the floor one last time as a high school player.

“I want to make it a fun experience and have the most fun with it that I possibly can,” Hill said. “It is gonna be my last high school game, so I’m just gonna go have fun and make new friends. I actually know a lot of the players I’m playing with through AAU, so it’s gonna be good to reconnect with them and just have fun.”



 

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Jr. Wildcats off to winning start

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Just as with Livingston Academy, the Overton County Junior Wildcats baseball team kicked off their season last week. Although the Jr. Cats are not totally experienced as a unit, they are still able to rack up wins.

In just one week of play, the Junior Wildcats are four and one with wins over Algood 5-1,W.J. Baird 10-3, Warren County 15-7, and Cumberland County 12-8. Their only loss was taken at White County by a count of 8-2. In the five games to start the year, Overton County has scored 44 runs, 8.8 runs per game, while only allowing 22, 4.4 runs per game.

The Jr. Cats do not return a single starter from last year’s squad that sent seven players to the Livingston Academy program.

“We have not one player that returned as a starter,” stated Junior Wildcats coach Shane Qualls. “I am playing four eight graders, four seventh graders, and one sixth grader, and I’ll tell you what, I am tickled with how things have went so far.”

As with any program that brings a whole new look to the forefront, the ability to step in and step up is very important.

“The kids have responded well to what we are trying to do. They work really hard and they want to be good. We really have no holes in positions 1-9 which makes us very solid.”

During the lone loss to Sparta, the Cats were just outhit and never really got going, coach Qualls explained, but overall, things aren’t too bad.

“We have a bunch of good arms that all bring something different to the table,” he said. “I have a bunch of A+ kids that want to work hard and get better, and again, I’m tickled.”

Now the Junior Wildcats (4-1) will look to continue their season this week, playing Cumberland County on Thursday at Livingston Academy at 5 p.m. before traveling to Van Buren County on Friday and coming back home to play Macon County Saturday at noon at LA.

The Junior Wildcats will always play a JV game before their varsity game.


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LA Wildcats jump out to 6-1 start


Josh Scott photo
Sophomore Colby Reeder slides in for a run at home during the Wildcats’ win over the Buffaloes.


Josh Scott photo
Livingston Academy’s Justin Savage finishes his home-run swing during Wednesday’s action versus Clarkrange.


Josh Scott photo
LA pitcher Tracy McDonald fires the first pitch of the game for the Wildcats versus Clarkrange last Wednesday night.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Livingston Academy’s baseball program got off to a great start this past week with quality wins over quality teams. But, don’t seem surprised if it continues, as this team has proven that this year may be different than the rest and that this year, the tide may be turning.
Last season, the LA Wildcats didn’t fare well when it came to the Monterey Wildcats. On Monday, March 15, Livingston didn’t just beat Monterey, they pounced on them for sure. In a 9-1 rout of the visiting Wildcats, Livingston Academy’s Jim Officer, Justin Savage, Seth Kilgore, and M.J. Lockhart ripped two hits apiece for LA. Savage, Kilgore, and Lockhart each drove in two runs on the night as well.
Although the bats were alive, it wasn’t just hitting that got the job done. Justin Savage also picked up the win going four innings, striking out 9, and giving up the lone run. Jonathan Melton would come in to finish the job pitching the final three innings while striking out two of his own on the night to seal the opener, by a score of 9-1 in favor of the Wildcats.
Tuesday would bring another challenge, and another school. Livingston Academy traveled to Warren County High School to take on the Pioneers. Inconsistent hitting and sloppy defense proved to be the deciding factor in Warren County as the Wildcats would surrender their one-run lead (4-3) in the bottom of the sixth inning and eventually fall to the host Pioneers by a count of 11-5.
The following day, the Wildcats returned home to take on the visiting Clarkrange Buffaloes, and this time there would be no argument as to who the better team really was.
After a great first inning of pitching from southpaw Tracy McDonald, the Wildcats would find the scoreboard with ease going all the way through the lineup in the bottom of the first inning with a plethora of singles, stolen bases, and one huge 2-run bomb over the left field fence by junior Justin Savage. The game was over before the first inning was in a way, as the Wildcats would claw away at a blowout, beating Clarkrange 20-3. Every ‘Cat starter had reached base in the contest while Tracy McDonald also picked up the win.
The rest of the week would consist of a win at home versus White County and a quality road win at Jackson County. If one is counting, that brings the Wildcats’ record to five and one, somewhere they haven’t been in some time.
“The hard work is most definitely paying off,” senior Tracy McDonald explained. “We’ve been hitting in the cages every day and we have our heads in it and just have to keep them in it. We just have to take care of what’s first before we can think any further ahead.”
But the senior leader isn’t totally satisfied with being at 5-1 overall.
“We had our ups and downs. We had our chance to be undefeated and Warren County beat us in a game we had the chance to win. But it’s baseball and anything can happen.”
Senior leaders are one thing, but when the rest of the team is working just as hard to be a good example, things like a good start aren’t unexpected.
“We have a lot of guys that can move around,” sophomore Colby Reeder stated as a sign of the early success. “Everyone on the team has a really good work ethic and that shows when we hit the field.”
After a solid start, including a district win over the visiting Smith County Owls on Monday night 10-9, the Wildcats 6-1 (1-0) were scheduled to travel to Smith County on Tuesday, March 23 before going to Cumberland County on Thursday, March 25 and participating in the Christian Academy of Knoxville’s tournament over the weekend. The Wildcats will then come back to district play with York Institute in Jamestown on Monday, March 29 then host York on Tuesday, March 30.




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Lady Cats win first game for new softball coach

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Sometimes losing isn’t a matter of being a bad team. It isn’t a matter of doing things totally wrong. Sometimes, things are just out of sync, or in this case, just not totally in sync, yet. Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats softball opened up their season last week. For a team that has a brand new coach, and some fresh faces, things didn’t go that bad.

On Thursday, March 18, the Lady Cats traveled to Upperman to take on the Cumberland County Lady Jets. Pitcher Meriam Maynord was almost untouchable in the contest as she picked up the win on the night, allowing no earned runs throughout her time on the mound.

The bigger thing on the night was that Mallory Mahaney and the Lady Cats offense racked up 8 hits, including a solo bomb by Mahaney as part of her 2 RBI night.

When things were settled, the Lady Cats prevailed by a count of 3-0 to win their opener and get new coach Ashley Fisher a quick first win.

After the win, Livingston Academy traveled to Hendersonville to take part in the Commando Classic. As a #4 seed, the Lady Wildcats would have to bring their “A” game to win the tournament, and that would be proven as the Lady Cats fell in their first game to Dobyns Bennett by a count of 3-0. Meriam Maynord picked up the loss as the Lady Cats lost a bit of their offensive production, only able to muster 3 total hits in the game.

Next up for the Cats would be the Lebanon High School Lady Blue Devils. This time, Livingston’s other ace would take the mound with authority as junior Katelyn Webb made easy work of the Devils offense, allowing 3 runs on the day. The Lady Wildcats offense found their stride once again, scoring 7 runs on 8 hits to take hold of the game and put their team back in contention for first in the tournament.

But in the final two games of the tournament, the “newness” of the Lady Cats team shone through a bit as they fell by a count of 7-2 to Clarksville Northeast and 6-1 to district rival DeKalb County. The one bright spot for the final two games was Mallory Mahaney, who sent another ball over the fence to bring her home run total to 2 through 5 games.

Although the week didn’t go totally great, Coach Fisher is just humbled to have the opportunity to lead the program.

“I was so excited about coaching these young ladies,” she said. “I love the game of softball, and to get to coach such a fine group of girls about softball and the game of life is a privilege.

“I could not ask for a better group of girls this season ready to work hard for the team, the program, and for their coaches. I saw a lot of good things and saw some things we need to work on, but that is to be expected with it being only March.”

One of those things may be an all-around game explained one Lady Cat.

“This weekend we brought our defense for the most part,” sophomore Abby Miller stated. “But we didn’t hit well. When we get it all together, we will be fine.”

As for the true hitter, Mallory Mahaney doesn’t really want any part of the spotlight and to take anything away from what her teammates and herself are trying to get done.

“The home runs felt great, but we have done pretty good so far,” the junior continued, shifting all focus away from her as an individual. “We still have a lot of work to do but it takes practice.

“Coach will push us to that limit and she wants us to be the best so I think it will end up being a great year,” Mahaney continued.

After the first week, the Lady Cats (2-3) look to improve on their record as they were rescheduled to travel to Gordonsville on Tuesday, March 23 because of the field conditions at Livingston Academy. The Lady Cats will then try to play host to the Cannon County Lionnettes on Friday, March 26 and Smith County’s Owlettes on Tuesday, March 30.

 

 


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