Baseball, softball, soccer and tennis all hit the fields or court as action begins Monday for Cannon County High School's spring sports teams.
The baseball Lions, under new coach Eddie Cunningham, will open the season on the road against Jackson County in Gainesboro
Another first-year coach, Matt Cagle, will lead the softball Lionettes into action at home against Jackson County.
Coach Ronny Burks, one season shy of his 20th year as coach of girls and boys tennis, takes his teams on the road to Coffee County.
Shannon Gannon, back from a year off as soccer coach, and the Lions kick into action at Middle Tennessee Christian in Murfreesboro.
Ten players return to take the field for the Cannon County baseball team.
They are senior Andrew Woodin (CF-P), junior Trent Fagan (P-SS-C), juniors Colin Jones (IF-OF) and Austin Parker (IF-OF), and sophomores C.W. Alexander (OF-3B), Aaron Bratcher (3B-1B), Brock Francis (P-IF), Cody Phillips (C-OF), Cody Lorance (P-IF) and Jason Garcia (/OF).
New to the team are senior Tyler Jacobs (OF), sophomores Dillon Miller (IF-P), Justin Weaver (OF), and freshmen Ryan McClaurine (IF-OF), Dalton Bell (IF-P), Austin Brown (IF-OF-P), Tyler Ingram (OF), Brent Duggin (OF), Brian Duggin (OF), Jarrett Melton (IF-P), Carter Underwood (IF).
“We are looking pretty good at defense and we are gelling great together as a team,” Cunningham said. “Our pitchers are working very hard and are looking good at this point as well.”
Cunningham said the Lions are a youthful team which will need to develop experience during the season to be successful.
“We are a very young team, we lost a lot of good baseball players off of last year’s team,” he said.
“This season we are going to rely heavily on our older pitchers and expect our young guys to come in and do their best when they are called upon. With a young team hitting is always going to be a concern. The players are working hard and have a great attitude about this season.”
Burks enters his 19th season as coach of the Cannon County tennis teams this spring.
Burks started the tennis program at CCHS in 1992. Last season both the boys and girls were 6-3 overall (5-1 district) and each won the District Tournament.
He will take veteran squads into action this season as the Lions return four players and the Lionettes eight.
Returning for the boys are Aaron Hollis, Mitchell Page, Zac Barker, and Ethan Womack.
Ashley Campbell, Abby Fann, Olivia Campbell, Darcy Brandon, Emily Lance, Kaitlyn Curry, Kayla McReynolds and Taylor King return to the girls’ squad.
Youth dominates Cagle’s first Lionette squad, as eight freshmen are featured on their 15-member squad.
And many of them will likely see significant playing time early in the season as several players on the team have still been playing basketball.
Returning seniors are Kendzie Patterson and Erica Melton. Juniors Shelby Jordan and Chelsey Payne are also back, along with sophomores Lindsey Reed, Hunter Miller and Shae Cook.
Making up the freshmen contingent are Abbey Spry, Mekala Rollins, Samanth Phillips, Brianna Nichols, Elaine Greer, Tessa Resko, Ginger Sullivan and Taylor Nelms.
“Although we hope to do well this year, we are planting the seed for the future,” Cagle said. “The freshmen will have to step up because they will be playing a significant role right off the bat.”
The Lions slipped a little last season after finishing third in the state playoffs the year before, but Gannon is looking forward to the challenge of getting the program back on the right track.
“We feel off a little last season,” Gannon said, “but I think we will be alright this year and hopefully show some improvement.”
Returning to the team are seniors Andrew Wooden, Andy Agee, Cesar Wilson, Daniel Woodin, Jake Wilder and Journey Lindquist and juniors Damian Coomes, Devin Hill, Kurtis Dryden and Sabastian Novoa.
New to the squad are seniors Patrick Gerdes and Phillip Howell, juniors Casey Nash, and Gabriel Walkup and sophomore Damon Collette.
“We have some veteran players back and some new guys who show promise,” Gannon said. “I think we will have a decent year and it should be a lot of fun.”See Schedules For CCHS Spring Sports Team