Today's region baseball match-ups
Times listed are Eastern
Soddy-Daisy (20-16) at Warren County (17-21), 6:30
Cookeville (27-9) at Bradley Central (21-11), 7
Central (16-18) at Sequoyah (21-6), 6
Loudon (11-17) at Hixson (21-11), 6:30
DeKalb County (18-16) at Signal Mountain (23-10), 7:30
Grundy County (21-9) at Murfreesboro Magnet Central (28-9), 6
Whitwell (18-12) at Boyd-Buchanan (25-9), 5
Silverdale Baptist (15-9) at South Pittsburg (23-10), 7:30
At least two area district champions face uphill battles today in region baseball semifinals.
Boyd-Buchanan, District 5-A champion, and District 6-A winner South Pittsburg host teams they lost to earlier in the season. Boyd-Buchanan lost to Whitwell and South Pittsburg to Silverdale.
Other teams hosting semifinal games today, all champions, are Bradley Central, Hixson and Signal Mountain. Area teams on the road, along with Whitwell and Silverdale Baptist, are Soddy-Daisy, Grundy County and Central.
All are facing win or pack-it-in games today while winners advance to the regional championships on Wednesday. Those winners win host and the losers will travel for Friday sectional games.
Whitwell was down 8-4 to Boyd-Buchanan and rallied for a 9-8 win in the first week of the season.
"Our hitting has improved and our pitching is a little more consistent," Whitwell coach Scott Barton responded when asked about changes his club had undergone since that game. "Hitting-wise, we're a little more patient -- definitely a better two-strike hitting team than we were.
We're definitely the underdog, and we kind of like that."
Whitwell has been here before, Barton saying that Boyd-Buchanan had eliminated the Tigers more than once, the last time coming in 2012. If they make it to the Wednesday's region championship, it would be the first time since 1989.
So neither he nor Boyd-Buchanan's Josh Rider is putting much stock in their teams' previous game.
"I think both teams would say they're much improved since that game. Both definitely have played a lot better," Rider said. "We'll be facing a good lefty [Chase White] and [pitcher] Skyler Anderson has been very consistent for us this year."
Silverdale's win over South Pittsburg also was early in the year, in the Pirates' Home Run Classic the first week of the season.
"It was one of those back-and-forth games you hope you can build on," said Seahawks coach Jonathan Adcock, whose club has had to overcome the loss of five talented seniors from a state finalist team in 2013. "A lot has happened since then."
South Pittsburg rebounded to win competitive 6-A over Whitwell and Marion County and Adcock has seen his team's bats slump in the postseason. They were shut out in the 5-A final in five innings by Boyd-Buchanan.
"We haven't hit the ball well the last four games and we know South Pittsburg has a strong pitching staff and powerful offense," Adcock said. "We will have to rely on our pitching and defense to keep us in the game."
Of the loss to SBA, South Pittsburg coach Wes Stone said his team members knew who they had lost to during the season," but it was a tournament game and neither Silverdale nor us pitched the guy the other team will see Monday.
"Silverdale is not as [experienced] as they were last year but that have a couple of guys that can throw it and they have some speed. They lost four or five seniors, yeah, but they're right back in the region again."
Baylor and McCallie are in the Division II-AA playoffs but will not play until Friday. Both will be in the road.
Contact Ward Gossett at ward email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...