Title shots on horizon as squads set to start
Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 12:01 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
With basketball over for the schools in the county, it is time for the sounds and sights of spring.
Expectations will once again be high for Weakley County teams in the upcoming spring season.
Two area high schools will be opening the 2012 softball season with new skippers at the helm. Gleason will turn to Jacob Canaday, who is taking over for Joel Ayers so he can concentrate on basketball. Westview is doing the same with Jessica Hightower. She is taking over a program that was led in the past by J. B. Suiter.
Many of the area spring sports teams will begin the 2012 season on Monday.
Dresden will kick off its baseball season at Obion Central at 5 p.m., while the softball team will be playing at Huntingdon at 4:30.
Gleason will begin its baseball season at home on Monday as well against South Fulton with a 5 p.m. game time, and the softball team will be at Bruceton that same day. The first pitch is at 4:30.
Greenfield’s baseball team will be in action on Monday with a home game against West Carroll at 5, and the softball team will start its season on Tuesday with a home game against Bradford at 4.
Greenfield’s tennis team will see the first action of the season 4 p.m. Monday against Henry County on the courts at UT Martin.
The Westview baseball team will be on the road to take on Crockett County at 4:30 on Monday. The softball team will host McKenzie at 3:45 on Monday, while the tennis team will be playing Dyersburg on the UTM tennis courts. The boys’ soccer team will be on the road to take on Jackson North Side at 6, also on Monday.
Dresden skipper Scott Killebrew will be turning to a strong core of seniors to lead his team District 13A.
Gatlin Hatchel will be Dresden’s primary player this season on the mound, at the shortstop position and at the plate. Hatchel batted above .500 last season, and Killebrew is hoping his batting is just as strong this season.
Chaz Coleman is another solid pitcher, as is Josh Bone. All-District player Mac Doran is another solid player who can play on the infield and outfield. Killebrew is also hoping Eric VanDyke can do some pitching.
Dresden is looking to make a deeper run in the district, and Killebrew expects District 13A to be very competitive from top to bottom this season.
Gleason is another team from District 13A with a good group of seniors. Jason Stephens will have six seniors on his team, with five of them starting and three will be taking to the mound this season. Thomas Fowler, Gabe Lowrance and Conner Verdell will counted on to keep the opposition in check this season.
Stephens believes his team will be pretty solid defensively this season. Fowler will be in the outfield on days he is not pitching and sophomore Will Clark will be starting his first season behind the plate. Stephens will also be counting on his seniors to provide the offensive spark at the plate this season.
Gleason finished third in the district last season, and Stephens is hoping his group of players will take that next step this season and make it into the regional tournament.
Greenfield has had one of the strongest teams in the county for the last several years, and head coach Willie Trevathan is hoping his squad can give the school its fourth consecutive District 14A title. In order for Greenfield to make another trip to the regional tournament and the Class A sectionals, Trevathan will have to replace one of the premier pitchers from a year ago.
Gone from last year’s team is standout pitcher Dalton Potts, who led Greenfield to just one win away from the state tournament. Trevathan will have five or six players he will be counting on this year for his team to be competitive. Pitching will be on concern as the team is not as deep as it has been in the past.
Greenfield will have All-State player Heath Crouse back along with Hunter Crouse and Tony Robinson as every day starters. Jack Grooms, Graham Perkins and Payton Page are expected to have increased playing time this season. Trevathan is also counting on some of his younger players to step in and take on a bigger role this season.
Westview is another one of the teams in the county with a strong cast of seniors.
Head coach Chad Levister has seven seniors on the team this year to go along with three juniors and eight sophomores. Westview will also have seven freshmen expected to have some playing time.
Seniors Blake Parham, Zach Austin, Kyle Cole-man and Brent Gilbert are going to key players for Westview. Sophomores Ty Brown and Jenus Hussey are expected to play vital roles as well.
Dresden second year head coach Stacey Lockart will be counting on starting pitcher Abigail Lockhart to keep runners off the base paths this season and to help Dresden make a longer run in District 13A.
Dresden will have seven seniors on this year’s team with shortstop/outfielder Tori Flippin being the team’s leader on the field. Lockhart will also be counting on freshman Carrie Hatchel to be productive at the plate and will have her playing several different positions on the field.
Gleason is the other team in the county playing in District 13A, and first year head coach Jacob Canaday will be counting on some young players to make an impact on this year’s team.
Canaday will have Gleason’s best hitter and pitcher returning from last year’s team.
Junior Briana Jones will be looking for another solid year with the bat, and sophomore Calay Smith will be counted on to lead the team on the mound once again. Senior pitcher Haley Collins and senior third baseman Sarah Passeri will be looked at as the team leaders for this young Gleason team. Passeri, who played behind the plate last year, is expected to make the adjustment at third with little or no problem.
Canaday also has freshman Hollie Gurley, who has stepped her game, starting at first base and will probably be batting in the fourth slot of the batting order.
Another Weakley County team that will have some growing pains is Greenfield. Skipper Hal Blackman will have perhaps the youngest team in the county.
Blackman will have to turn to his four seniors to lead the way this season in District 14A. He will have seniors Brielle Smith at third base, Katie Bell behind the plate, Katy Caudle and Hannah Crawford roaming the outfield.
Greenfield will have to deal with a lot of inexperienced players this season, but Blackman is optimistic his young squad will show improvement as the season progresses. Blackman will have some girls who have never played the game before so this will be a learning process for his team.
Westview will be breaking in a new head coach this season, but Jessica Hightower will be taking over a team that has been to the state tournament four out of the last five years. The lone year Westview did not make it was the 2011 season. But Westview is the defending District 13AA champ and made it as far as the Region 7AA semifinals.
Westview will only have two seniors back from last year’s team, but Tessa French and Holly Morris are both solid players.
Junior Kayla Guthrie will be looking to get on base from the leadoff spot much like she did last season. Junior Alex Hughey will be counted on to move Guthrie around the base paths once again.
Sophomore Alex Crosser will be looking to have another good season at the plate as well. Meagan Prince, Hughey and Guthrie were all named to the all-district team last season.
After a perfect regular season and a trip to the state tournament, all eyes will be on Greenfield.
Co-head coaches Bill and Teresa McCall will have a Taylor Hatcher, Kendal Cook, Kaylee Kesterson and Callie Croom back this season.
One vital cog in the Greenfield tennis machine will be missing this season. Emily Allen, considered to be the leader on the team, will have to sit out this season due to a torn ACL she suffered during the basketball season.
Even without Allen, Greenfield should once again be a favored in District 13A-AA and the Greenfield community will once again be hoping the sirens will sound this season to signal another district title.
Westview is another area team that is hoping to make some noise this season after a successful campaign last year. Coach Chad Johnson will have Melissa Darroch back from last year, but her partner in doubles, Cara Burnham, was lost due to graduation.
The Westview boy’s tennis team will also be looking to be competitive this season in the district. Johnson will have to replace Tanner Spencer from last year’s team and will be looking at his younger players to step up.
Westview will once again be looking to take that one extra step this season when the team takes to the field. Westview came to within one game of making it to the state tournament. After finishing as Region 7A-AA runners-up and making it to the sectionals, hopes are high for the team this year.
Coach Dan Scates will be looking to seniors Adam Reinhard and Abraham Haddad for leadership.
Senior goalie Scout Edwards will be counted on to keep the ball out of the goal for Westview. Published in The WCP 3.8.12