How sweet it is…

Published 2:46 pm Thursday, June 11, 2020

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There has been a renewed vigor among local sportswriters and photographers this week as the first sign of sports life local started back up with the first pitch of the East Tennessee Baseball League put together by Boyd Sports.
Featuring 16 teams in the Eastern Division, local teams Cyclones and Bulldogs were able to play baseball for the first time in 2020 after seeing their high school baseball season washed out after only a few games due to COVID-19.
And while some of the teams are being coached by someone other than their high school coach, it hasn’t seemed to cut down on the competitiveness exhibited in the first three days of action.
Although the Cyclones were unable to get in a full game due to torrential rain that fell in the bottom of the first inning as the Cyclones had built an early 3-0 advantage, it was easy to see not only were the media and teams excited but the fans as well with a good crowd on hand to witness the action.
The Bulldogs were more fortunate as a beautiful Wednesday evening allowed Hampton the opportunity to get in their first game against Dobyns-Bennett as the Bulldogs fell short but just being able to take the field again was sweet for all teams involved.
Currently, the games are being played Monday through Wednesday at the TVA Credit Union Ballpark in Johnson City and at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark here in Elizabethton.
Admission to the games is very reasonable at $5 and for baseball fans especially this at least gives an opportunity to take in some pretty good baseball.
This league may be the future of summer games at the stadiums as it is looking very realistic that the Appalachian League is finished.
Local player watching the draft closely
While many local baseball fans are tuning into the MLB draft that began on Wednesday with the first round to see whom their favorite team is going to draft, for one local player and his family, the draft is much more.
Evan Carter, a 2020 graduate of Elizabethton High School and former outfielder and pitcher for the Cyclone baseball team, is watching closely to see if his name will be called out in rounds two through five which took place on Thursday afternoon.
Carter was being looked at by several teams before the pandemic shut down prep baseball and there is a good possibility that Carter may do so as some teams had been trolling Carter leading up to the beginning of the draft.
Whether he elects to go on to play professionally, if drafted, will be something that he and his family will be discussing as he already has a full baseball scholarship as a Duke Blue Devil meaning that if he doesn’t receive what he is looking for from an MLB team he still has a fantastic opportunity to get a very top-rated college education and play baseball as well.
Many Cyclone fans, coaches, and players are keeping their fingers crossed for Carter to get an opportunity not many players get.
Athletes getting to get in some much-needed conditioning
With the region opening up slowly for athletes and many eyes still watching football to see what happens there, other sports are also taking advantage of getting in some much-needed conditioning with their team.
Basketball players, girls’ soccer, cross country, and golf along with football teams are practicing social distancing with their coaches as they work to get into game shape should everything continue to progress where their sports can be played.
If nothing else, it has been a blessing for these young athletes just to be able to get back together with their teams and friends and see light at the end of the tunnel.
Cheerleading team selection well underway
So, another sport that gets little attention is cheerleading. Several schools are in the process of selecting teams for the upcoming year while others have already selected their team.
I wanted to give a shout out to the young ladies selected for each one and hope those other cheer coaches will send me your list so I can recognize those girls as well.
The 2020-2021 cheerleading squad for T.A. Dugger Jr. High are Lainey Snodgrass, Xandi Crockett, Bethany Wellnitz, Grace Whaley, Sophie Peterson, Sophia McKeehan, Abbey Ferguson, Hannah Escano, Ashlyn Scott, MacKenzie McCall, Taylor Whitson, Olivia Fields, Aubrey Meier, and Lily Hardin.
I will update all the teams once I receive a list from their coaches.

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