published Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Lady Trojans unveil new field

Soddy-Daisy High School's girls' softball team plays Soddy-Daisy High School's boys' baseball team in a battle of the sexes game  Friday on the softball field. The field is new. 
Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Soddy-Daisy High School's girls' softball team plays Soddy-Daisy High School's boys' baseball team in a battle of the sexes game Friday on the softball field. The field is new. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press

After opening its season today at Cleveland, Soddy-Daisy will play its first home high school softball game on campus Wednesday when McMinn County visits for a District 5-AAA game at 5 p.m.

The field is adjacent to the football and band practice areas on the hill behind the school. An official field dedication will take place April 4 at about 6 p.m., after the Lady Trojans host GPS at 4:30.

The first chance fans got to see action on the field was last Friday when the softball and baseball teams played a fundraising softball game. Profits from the gate were divided between the programs.

“Everything has been positive,” Soddy-Daisy softball coach Clifford Kirk said. “All we’ve heard is what a nice place it is. We played on it last Friday, and we might’ve been the only ones. The rest of the facilities were probably too wet. Of course, we did a lot of work on it.”

Kirk said the drainage and lighting systems are second to none in the Chattanooga area. He said the concession stand, restrooms and speaker system also are in place, but bleachers must still be installed on each side.

Kirk said he’s been told by county officials that the bleachers, similar to the enclosed models at Warner Park, should be arriving any day. Temporary bleachers are there in the meantime.

Soddy-Daisy will continue to have its Lady Trojan Invitational — the 21st this year April 22-23 — at the Soddy Lake Kids’ Park where it used to play its regular-season games. One difference in the new park and the old one is that the fences are 200 feet from home plate instead of 225.

“There’ll be some fly out,” Kirk said. “I hope a bunch of them are mine.”

Coaching carousel

Marion County’s softball coaches are swapping places for the 2011 season. Chris Thomas is moving to head coach and Thomas Long will be an assistant.

Thomas, who spent one season as head coach at Jasper Middle in addition to serving as an assistant at the high school and middle school levels, said there were a few reasons for their mutual agreement. He said Long is a computer technician for the Marion County school system — something that can be difficult to manage along with head coaching duties. Thomas also said Long could possibly need back surgery at some point this spring.

“Hopefully he’ll be able to take it back next year,” Thomas said.

Other new head softball coaches in the Chattanooga area this year are Connie Stobert at Cleveland, Holly Hamilton at East Hamilton, Juan Clariday at Grundy County, Jayme Putman at Hixson, Bo Cagle at McMinn County, Jill Webb at Notre Dame, Cara Stiles at Rhea County, Jill Sitton at Signal Mountain and Lauren Limburg at Walker Valley.

Four baseball tourneys

There are three baseball tournaments this weekend, including South Pittsburg’s Home Run Club Invitational, the annual Scenic City Classic put on by McCallie and Hixson’s long-running Wildcat Classic. Those begin on Thursday. McMinn Central’s Playing for a Cure tournament starts Wednesday.

The South Pittsburg tournament is using fields at Grundy County, Bledsoe County and Signal Mountain. The championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at South Pittsburg. Among the entrants are Tyner, Moore County, Stone Memorial, Whitwell and Cannon County.

The Scenic City final is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at McCallie. It had originally been scheduled for AT&T Field. Boasting a strong field, the Scenic City features the host Blue Tornado but also has nationally ranked Farragut, Baylor, Walker Valley, Independence, Briarcrest Christian, Science Hill and Soddy-Daisy. Tournament sites are McCallie, Baylor, Soddy-Daisy and Ooltewah.

The Playing for a Cure Classic includes McMinn County, Alcoa, Sweetwater, Rhea County, Polk County, Cookeville and Maryville Heritage.

The Wildcat Classic final is at 2 p.m. Sunday at Hixson, and the field includes Sequatchie County, East Hamilton, Sale Creek, Notre Dame, Central, Boyd-Buchanan, Chattanooga Christian, Red Bank and Bradley Central. Games are scheduled for Hixson, Central and Red Bank.

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