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Hampton baseball team stealing attention

Douglas Fritz • Apr 2, 2018 at 8:41 PM

Living on the edge.

It’s something Hampton’s baseball team can do to level the playing field. The Bulldogs have played just eight games this season, but have racked up a stunning 56 stolen bases in 57 attempts. That’s an average of seven steals per game.

The main culprit is Dru Owens. He is batting .393 and is a perfect 17 for 17 in stolen bases. Caleb Oaks and Gavin Hardin are each 7 for 7.

“I believe in a motion offense,” said first-year Hampton head coach Nick Perkins. “We double steal a lot, too, so the back-end guy gets a stolen base. To be fair, we’ve only played one or two teams that have defended the running game well through their catcher and/or pitcher.”

Still, Perkins said his team will continue to be aggressive against tough opponents.

“They will have to prove they can defend it more than once,” said Perkins. “I believe at this level you put pressure on the opposing defense. But it works on the collegiate level, too.”

Hampton carried a league record of 3-1 into Monday’s Watauga Valley Conference contest at North Greene. The Bulldogs stood at 5-3 overall.

Still mashing

Tennessee High’s baseball team simply has not relented in its assault of opposing pitchers.

Going into Monday’s showdown against Science Hill, the Vikings had scored a robust 196 runs while allowing only 32. That’s an average score of 14-2, maintained through 14 games with the Vikings holding a record of 13-1.

Baseball highlight games

Tuesday

Tennessee High at Science Hill

Sullivan South at Sullivan Central

North Greene at Hampton

Monday, April 9

Science Hill at Dobyns-Bennett

Unicoi County at Happy Valley

Sullivan East at Sullivan Central

Hampton at Unaka

Sullivan Central got off to a strong start in Three Rivers Conference play by sweeping Elizabethton. With key league games against Sullivan County rivals on the schedule, the Cougars will have to prove they belong near the top of the conference standings. …

Hampton has positioned itself near first place in the Watauga Valley Conference standings, but the Bulldogs will have to prove themselves against a pair of traditional league heavyweights.

Softball highlight games

Tuesday

Unicoi County at Elizabethton

Friday

Eastman Invitational at Kingsport

Saturday

Eastman Invitational at Kingsport

Sunday

Eastman Invitational at Kingsport

It has become arguably the best softball matchup in Northeast Tennessee when the Lady Blue Devils and Lady Cyclones tangle on the diamond. This one looks like another dandy with first place in the Three Rivers Conference at stake. Unicoi is 4-0 in league play while the Lady Cyclones were 3-0 heading into Monday’s game against Sullivan South.

Soccer highlight game

Thursday

Chuckey-Doak at University High

Gone from the postseason landscape are Greeneville, now in Class AA, and Christian Academy of Knoxville, now in Division II. That leaves a wide-open door for a team like Chuckey-Doak or University High to reach Murfreesboro for the Spring Fling. The Lady Black Knights made it work in girls soccer, reaching the state semifinals.

This is the first of two matchups in a 12-day stretch for these league rivals.

College signing

University High’s Joseph Harless will make it official with Milligan College on Thursday. He will sign to play basketball, and the ceremony will take place at 3:15 p.m. in the high school library.

Baseball rankings

As teams get into the heart of their regular season schedules, four teams moved up one spot each in this week’s Baseball Top 10.

Team (W-L) — Prv

1. Science Hill (11-3) — 1

2. Tennessee High (13-1) — 2

3. Dobyns-Bennett (9-6) — 3

4. Unicoi County (7-3) — 4

5. Elizabethton (7-3) — 6

6. Sullivan East (5-4) — 7

7. Daniel Boone (7-4) — 5

8. Sullivan Central (5-2) — 9

9. Sullivan South (5-4) — 10

10. Cherokee (5-5) — NR

Softball rankings

It’s a repeat of last week with the exception of Tennessee High entering the rankings in this week’s Softball Top 10.

Team (W-L) — Prv

1. Daniel Boone (9-5) — 1

2. Unicoi County (10-2) — 2

3. Science Hill (10-3) — 3

4. David Crockett (7-4) — 4

5. Elizabethton (5-3) — 5

6. Unaka (7-2) — 6

7. Dobyns-Bennett (7-4) — 7

8. Sullivan East (6-5) — 8

9. Sullivan South (3-5) — 9

10. Tennessee High (4-7) — NR

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