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Archives 05-19-2010

Sports

Improved Wildcats close baseball season in tourney
LA takes runner-up spot in district tournament
Lady Cats runner-up in district tournament
Pat Swallows announces plans to retire

Improved Wildcats close baseball season in tourney
By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Nobody wants to end on a loss in any sport. For the Livingston Academy baseball team, last week proved to be one they would want to forget in more than the losing way. Although the Wildcats had made the district tournament, they weren’t settling for what they received when they got there – losses.

The action started off against the number one seed, and rival, Upperman Bees on Monday night, May 10 at Upperman High. In the top of the second inning, Wildcat Justin Savage drove in Colby Reeder and Tracy McDonald to take a 2-0 lead over the host team and looked to give Livingston much needed momentum.

But defense is a side that the Wildcats had struggled with some all year, and in the bottom of inning number two, LA allowed six runs, four of which came on a grand slam, and things went downhill from there as Upperman would add another run in the fourth to make the lead 7-2 Bees.

Livingston did manage to grab three runs in the fifth to pull to a manageable 7-5, but
errors once again caught the Cats tongue as they would allow Upperman to score eight in the fifth to end the game via run rule, 15-5.

Shawn Walthall took the loss for Livingston, but offensive support was lacking, as well as defensive support. The Wildcat attack only managed to connect on four hits, while committing five errors on the defensive side of the game. Reeder, McDonald, Savage, and Walthall each had a hit to account for the four in the contest.

The following day, Livingston looked to right the ship and possibly find themselves playing into a championship game versus either DeKalb or Upperman on Wednesday. After a quick offensive explosion in the first inning that saw a three-run shot from senior Seth Kilgore, the Wildcats let the Owls back in it in the next two
innings, and after three, the Cats were tied 4-4.

Livingston took advantage of lazy defense, scoring two more and taking a 6-4 lead in the fourth, but the lead wouldn’t hold as the Owls came back with five of their own and took the game 9-6.

This time, Justin Savage took the loss, while Ethan McDonald, Reeder, Walthall, and Kilgore (3 R, HR) each had a hit. Savage managed to reach via hit twice.

After the game, coach Swallows was disappointed, but realistic as well.

“It’s been the things that got us all year,” he explained, “errors got us. It’s kind of like a recording of us. You just can’t get to a point like that and commit those kinds of mistakes.”

Although the season didn’t end like anyone wanted it to, the Wildcats still managed to improve from a 2009 season that only saw 8 total wins and 16 losses. This season however, the Wildcats doubled their wins (16), but managed to lose 17 games.

Senior Jonathan Melton led the team in batting average, batting .365 for the year.

Junior Justin Savage drove in the most runs, 31, while also sporting the most hits, 33, on the season. Senior Seth Kilgore led the team in home runs with 5 while Ethan McDonald led the team in steals with 7.

As a team, Livingston Academy (16-17, 5-8) batted .304, scoring 243 runs on 277 hits with 15 home runs and 200 runs batted in.

On the mound, Justin Savage went 4-2 with a 6.92 earned run average while Tracy McDonald went 3-0 with a 5.48 earned run average. Pitching totals for 2010 were 16-17 with 2 saves with a 4.89 team ERA. Wildcat pitchers gave up 258 hits, 12 of which were home runs, while striking out 194 batters on the year. The Wildcats gave up 214 runs, but only 143 of those were earned.

 

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LA takes runner-up spot in district tournament


Josh Scott photo
Livingston Academy’s Tanner Buford heads a pass up field.


Josh Scott photo
Livingston Academy’s Ryan Swallows takes a shot on goal.


Josh Scott photo
Livingston Academy’s Justin Perdue moves in to make a pass in Thursday’s match against Friendship Christian.


Josh Scott photo
Junior Jake Huitt passes from the middle of the field.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

One loss out of 10 doesn’t change the world, but for Livingston Academy’s boys soccer team that one means more than many other losses in 2010.

The week started off in the district 8A/AA tournament semi-finals against the visiting Smith County Owls.

Coming into the tournament, junior Jake Huitt said it would take playing as good as they could to win and move on. Tuesday night, May 11 proved that as the visiting Owls, whom the Cats had already beaten just a week earlier, hung right with Livingston.

Justin Perdue found the net within the first 10 minutes of the first half, but the Owls wouldn’t give in as they matched the goal to tie the game at 1-1. All throughout the second half, a defensive struggle was the story as neither team had many shots to take the lead, credit the defenses for that.

In overtime another ball found the back of the net, and this time it was for the win. After a penalty on the Owls, Jake Huitt took position for a penalty kick that would not only win the game, but send the Wildcats to their 10th straight district final. As has been the case recently, the calm collected junior came through again. Huitt’s PK found the back of the net to give the Wildcats a 2-1 win and move them one step closer to their 10th consecutive district title.

On Thursday against Friendship Christian, there was no need for a game winner, or even a PK to help things for the Wildcats. After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, the Wildcats found themselves in a challenging position, trailing 2-0 at intermission.

Things would get worse though, as within the first 10 minutes of the second half, Friendship added another goal to take a commanding 3-0 lead. With over 25 minutes to go in regulation, Tanner Buford found the back of the net to put the Wildcats on the board. It wouldn’t be enough though, as Livingston would fall 3-1 at the hands of Friendship Christian.

With the loss, Livingston Academy was in an unusual position. The Wildcats finished second in the district for the first time since 2000, a feat that is not only remarkable, but seemingly untouchable in the game of soccer.

“We didn’t match their intensity at all,” stated coach Ethan King after the loss to FCA. “They beat us on the 50/50 balls, and seemed to want it more at times.”

Things weren’t all that bad, as the Wildcats had chances to shoot, but the shots sailed wide or were saved every time.

“We had those opportunities, but we didn’t finish,” King continued. “We had an off game with everything. Our adjustments at the half helped, but we still didn’t finish.

It’s disappointing, but we have to put those balls in when we have the chance.”

Livingston Academy (10-4-2, 7-1) traveled to Chattanooga Christian on Tuesday, May 18 to take on the #1 team in the state in A/AA.

On the challenge of playing Chattanooga Christian Tuesday, King stated, “There’s no doubt it’s a challenge, but we’re going to be ready to play. I keep telling them they can upset them with their best game, and they can.”




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Lady Cats runner-up in district tournament


Photos by Josh Scott
Freshman Amber Mainord sends a drive to right in Wednesday District 8AA Championship game.


Senior Jenna Smith takes a lead at first base.


Coach Ashley Fisher strategizes with sophomore Abby Miller before her at bat in Wednesday’s loss to DeKalb.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Softball is a game of runs. Obviously, if you score more than the other team, you win just as in any other sport. It also can be a game of a hot team versus a cold team. Going into the district 8AA championship, Livingston Academy was easily that hot team.

On Tuesday, May 11, the number 3 seeded Lady Wildcats took to the field, playing in their first district title game in 13 years against the DeKalb County Tigers, the number 1 seed. The Lady Cats couldn’t have asked for a better start than what they had against the favored Lady Tigers.

In the third inning, the Wildcats did all their offensive damage for the night, scoring four runs. After a Meriam Maynord hit, Mallory Mahaney came through to plate courtesy runner Tiffany Waddell and the rally was on. Abby Miller eventually drove in a run as did Samantha Maya and Amber Mainord to give the Lady Cats a 4-0 lead after three innings.

But, DeKalb battled like the number 1 team should, and eventually after executing in bases-loaded situations, took the lead 5-4 after four.

After a back-and-forth defensive battle, the Lady Cats just couldn’t come through against DeKalb’s pitching and fell in what would be game 1 of the district 8AA championship, 5-4.

Meriam Maynord took the loss going the distance and allowing the five runs on six hits while striking out one.

Game 2 came on Wednesday afternoon between the two teams, and this time no matter what, a champion would be crowned; however this time, Katelyn Webb took the rubber for the Lady Cats.

Although Webb brought her stuff, the DeKalb bats got hot, putting up five early runs. Livingston Academy battled back though, as Meriam Maynord drove in Amber Mainord to draw the score to 4-1. A few batters later, Mallory Mahaney drove in a run on a double to bring the score to 5-2.

But 5-2 would be as close as the Lady Cats could get and would fall in the championship game, 5-2.

Webb is credited with the loss, tossing a complete game and allowing the five runs on seven hits while striking out a batter as well.

Mallory Mahaney and Meriam Maynord led the offensive attack while senior Jenna Smith also went 2 for 4 on the night.

This past Monday though, the Wildcats would run into a buzz saw in a hot Bledsoe County Lady Warriors team in the region semifinals. On a night to remember for the Lady Cats, things weren’t how they wanted to be remembered.

The Lady Wildcats managed only three hits produced by Mainord, Maynord, and Rachel Kingery, but zero runs. Livingston batters struck out nine times in the 9-0 loss. Maynord took the loss allowing all nine in four innings on five hits.

Katelyn Webb pitched the final two and gave up no hits while striking out three.

The season, however, turned out to be a great success for the Lady Wildcats of Livingston Academy. Last year, Livingston managed to go 14-15 and were put out of the district tournament in the semis. This year, for the first time since 1997, the Lady Cats made the region tournament while also posting a record of 22-16-2, 9-6 in 8AA.

Under first year coach Ashley Fisher, the Lady Cats not only improved their win total by 8, but found themselves in a traditionally deserving position by the year’s end, at the top of their district.




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Pat Swallows announces plans to retire


Coach Pat Swallows gives advice during a recent game.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Imagine yourself doing something for 40 years. Never a break from that one thing, but while you are doing it, you do nothing but succeed. For Livingston Academy baseball coach Pat Swallows, that one thing was baseball, and that one thing has now passed, effective Tuesday, May 11, after Livingston Academy’s 9-6 loss at the hands of the Smith County Owls in the district 8-AA tournament.

But don’t think Swallows is leaving because of a mere loss, the 34-year skipper of the Wildcats (4 years at Cookeville High) is leaving because it is, in his mind, the right time.

“I still love the game,” said a proud, emotional, Swallows in his office Friday morning. “I had thought about retiring really all year. The toughest part though, was trying to make an official decision. In my mind, it was all about the right time, and now seemed to be that time.”

Swallows reiterated though, that Tuesday’s loss had nothing to do in his decision to leave Livingston Academy, the program that he built 40 years ago.

“I told the guys that the loss wasn’t what made the decision. Nor the season in general,” he said. “I was so proud of the way they came to work and the way they had played, but now just seems to be the right time.”

On the other hand, Swallows’ pride reaches much deeper than just one season.

“I think that I’m most proud of the facility built here at LA, that in my mind is second to none,” the reminiscent coach continued. “I also had the opportunity to coach my three sons, and that was really special to spend all my time with them.”

Including his sons, Swallows also had the opportunity to coach a future pro, Bubby Buzzachero, who is currently in the minor leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was the 1969-1970 season that Swallows laid the foundation for what Livingston Academy baseball is today, and he knows that he couldn’t have done it alone.

“It is the program I built, but I had a lot of support from the school board, parents, players and so on. The program has truly been a labor of love.”

As with all other jobs though, the 40 years weren’t easy. Sometimes, Swallows recalled, the time could have been much easier to leave on.

“There were many off nights,” he continued, “but there were outstanding ones as well. But I came to learn that baseball is just like life, you have to adjust and go on.”

Going on is the one thing that Pat Swallows will try to do, and it may not be as easy as one might think.

“I’m definitely going to miss it. I’ll miss the relationships with the players and the fun in the locker room,” he said. “I’ll miss it all, but I know it’s time.”

There are many things that Swallows has missed out on in the past forty years.

“I plan to spend a lot of time with the grandkids,” he said with a big smile, “but I want to go to spring training, and even to the Masters, both of which I have never done. I love to travel and anticipate the free time.”

Now, the search for the next Livingston Academy skipper begins, and what shoes one must fill. Swallows, a sure TSSAA Hall of Fame member to be, racked up a 533-310 (.632%) record and a career that included numerous district titles, region titles, and sub-state appearances.

Swallows offered this advice to the next coach at Livingston, “I just hope he enjoys it as much as I did.”

For what was merely a love for a game turned into one of the best careers imaginable, all in 40 years.

 

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