The Cannon Courier
The spring sports season started this past week for all of the Cannon County High School teams except for boys' soccer, while the middle school baseball and softball teams enjoyed mixed success during the same time period.
The Lionettes under new head coach Brittany Cook opened the 2016 season at Murfreesboro Central Magnet on March 15 in a unique fashion on the scoreboard. CCHS got the bats going in a big way with a 19-16 win over the Lady Tigers down in the Boro. By the way, the score is not a misprint, but the players and coaches will take the win, especially starting 1-0 in a tough district.
"I am extremely proud of my girls," Cook said earlier this week. "They battled and worked hard, because it was their first game under a new coach. They came with a winning attitude and it prevailed. I am so elated, and extremely proud and excited for this win. It is even sweeter it was a district win."
Check out these offensive numbers as the Lionettes had 40 hits, and every one of the nine starters scored at least once in the win. The difference in the game was 10 runs off of 13 hits in the fourth innings.
"It was huge, because when you go into an inning with one or two runs you get some adreline" Smith said. "To get 10 in one inning is just crazy, because no one was expecting it. Everybody just wanted to go out there and play harder."
Walker led the way scoring five times, while sophomore Shelby Earls nailed two home runs and scored three times. Leadoff hitter senior Kelsie Smith added three more, and junior Lora Beth Nichols connected on a home run and she was the winning pitcher.
"We were all just hot," Senior Livia Walker said. "The bats were hot for everybody, and we just batted around a couple of innings. Everybody was hot, and I was really excited."
This past weekend, the Lionettes headed to Gordonville to take part in their tournament. They played three pool games against Gordonville, Page and White County trying to get the best spot for the bracket portion of the event later in the weekend. The event also gave them a chance improve the team chemistry heading into the heart of the district schedule.
Just like the softball team, the Lions roared into the new season under new management with Colin Jones taking the helm of the program. After a rainout on March 14 at Sequatchie County, the 2016 season got going for real on March 18 at home against Boyd Christian.
The Lions opened the season in dominating fashion winning 11-1 in six innings over the Broncos. Junior Preston Campbell led off the season with a thrilling inside-the-park home run, while senior Tucker Francis got it done on the mound and at the plate by scoring three runs. Francis and fellow senior Austin Martin combined for six strikeouts, while also getting some awesome defensive plays from the Lions.
"I just try to come out here and do my best," Francis said. "I would not be able to do it without these guys. The backbone of the team is the defense, and these guys come in and put in the same amount of work as I do. I cannot expect nothing but excellence from these guys, and they are awesome. I appreciate them every day."
Campbell added, "It got the momentum going in our favor, and it got the bats rolling. When someone does well, someone follows with it and passes the torch."
The 2016 season served off for both the Lions and Lionettes with three matches last week, including two at home. On March 15, CCHS match against DeKalb County was postponed due to testing at the rival school, then headed to Watertown a day later, and they finished the week back at home on March 18 against Coffee County.
The Lionettes picked up a hard fought 4-3 win over Watertown with senior Autumn King, junior Leah Hyatt, and sophomore Katherine Russo winning singles' matches, and King and junior Allison Howard winning a doubles match.
CCHS 2016 girls' tennis team is made up of King as the only senior, juniors include Howard, Hyatt and Kasey Sadler. The sophomores are Russo and Lindsey Frye, and the freshman are Courtney Davenport, Emily Keaton, Tyger Kennedy, Isabella Russo and Michelle Stone.
The Lions team has only two players this season, senior Austin Brock and freshman Landon Parton. Both players lost their singles' and double match against Watertown.
Junior Lionettes Softball
The middle school team started the 2016 season red hot winning their first five games, but in a makeup home game on March 16, the Lionettes fell to Community 7-2 for their first loss of the season. Seventh graders Kaitlin Duggin and Maddie Arnold scored the two runs for the Lionettes.
The following day, the CCMS squad traveled to Eagleville hoping to get back on the winning track and they did with impressive 8-5 win over their Rutherford County neighbors. Kallie Kemp and Duggin had two key hits, while the rest of the offense did not strikeout in the win. While, the Junior Lionettes got a total team effort on defense, while making less mistakes than the other night, according to head coach Marcus Arnold.
"It was pretty exciting, but next week we got a big game next week at DeKalb," Arnold said. "It is very important we win it, because that is our main rival."
The matchup will be on March 24 at 4:30 p.m. at DeKalb.
Junior Lions Baseball
The middle school baseball team also hosted a makeup game on March 17 against Coffee County. The Junior Lions scored two runs in the first inning to take a 2-1 advantage over the Red Raiders with Braxton Alexander and Wade Love coming home. Love also had a triple in the same inning. However, the Red Raiders added 10 unanswered runs during the rest of the game to pull away for the 11-2 win.