Mother Nature permitting, the District 5-AAA baseball postseason is scheduled to get underway this evening with a pair of opening round games at Ooltewah’s A.C. “Bud” Ball Field.
“We are good to go for tonight, unless something pops up out of nowhere,” Owl head coach and tournament director Brian Hitchcox stated to the Banner through a text this morning.
The league tournament is slated to begin at 5 p.m. with the fourth-seeded host Owls (16-12, 7-5), who won the tournament last year, taking on No. 5 Cleveland (10-18, 5-7), followed by third-seeded Soddy-Daisy (16-14, 8-4) battling No. 6 seeded Walker Valley (10-18, 2-10) in the nightcap at 8.
A pair of games are also planned for Thursday evening, but the order of the contests won’t be determined until after the Ooltewah-Cleveland opening round contest is finished.
“We have ‘Class Night’ (Thursday evening), so if we win the opener, we need to play the early game or else we’ll be minus-11 players,” explained Coach Hitchcox at last week’s district coaches pretournament meeting.
If the Blue Raiders win the opener, they will play top-seeded East Hamilton (21-13, 9-3) in the nightcap, but if the Owls are victorious they will face the Hurricanes at 4 p.m.
The other pairing for Thursday is an opening round contest between second-seeded Bradley Central (17-11, 9-3) taking on McMinn County (11-16, 2-10), the No. 7 seed, either at 5 or 8 p.m., depending on the Owl-Raider outcome.
A pair of games are set for Friday, with the Bear-Cherokee and Trojan-Mustang losers playing the event’s first elimination game at 5, while the victors will meet in a winner’s bracket semifinal at 8 p.m.
A trio of contests is slated for Saturday, but once again Ooltewah has a conflict that could affect the order in which they are played. “We have prom that night, so we need to play the early game,” related Coach Hitchcox.
The original Saturday schedule has elimination games planned for 1 and 4 p.m., with the winner’s bracket championship to highlight the night at 7 p.m.
Should the Owls fall to Cleveland in the opening round, they would be in the originally planned 1 p.m. game against the loser of Game 5, Friday evening’s winner’s bracket semifinal.
If they beat the Raiders but then fall to East Hamilton, the Owls would then would face the winner of Game 6 and that game would have to be shifted from 4 to 1 p.m. If Ooltewah wins its first two games, the winner’s bracket final will move from 7 p.m. to the opening contest of the day at 1, and the other games will be adjusted.
“We’ll just have to play it by ear and see how things happen, and adjust the game times from there,” remarked Coach Hitchcox at last week’s meeting.
The tournament will hold single-elimination games on Monday and Tuesday before the championship tilt on May 7 at 4 p.m., with a second title game to follow if needed.
The District 5-AA Baseball Tournament will hold its play-in game Thursday evening as Polk County travels to Sweetwater for a chance to advance to the double-elimination portion of the event.
“We (Polk and Sweetwater) were tied for the No. 4 spot and we split our two games with them, but they beat us on run differential, so they get to host the game,” explained Polk coach John Dixon.
The winner of the two Wildcat squads will advance to face state-ranked and top-seeded Sequoyah at McMinn Central High School Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The host Chargers and Loudon will square off in the other opening round matchup.
On Monday, Saturday’s winners will tangle for a spot in the district championship game, as well as a berth in the Region 3-AA tournament, while the losers will do an elimination battle. The second spot in the district title matchup, plus the other region berth will be determined on Tuesday 7, with the championship game(s) set for May 7.
The District 5-AAA softball coaches met today to finalize plans for their tournament, which will get underway Friday at Cleveland High.
The 5-AA fast-pitch postseason opens Friday as well with Sweetwater and Loudon in the play-in game with the winner to face top-seeded Polk County Monday at 5:30 in Benton. McMinn Central and Sequoyah will play in the other Monday contest. All 5-AA softball games will be played at the home of the higher seed.
The District 5-AAA Soccer Tournament will open Saturday (see related story, Page 17).