With Mother Nature dumping more than 4 more inches of moisture throughout the Southeast Tennessee area over the weekend and more in the forecast for not only today but possibly three of the next four days, coaches are scambling to come up with plans for how to get the games in.
The District 5-AAA baseball and softball tournaments got underway last week, with the boys getting in the first half dozen games of their event at Soddy-Daisy High School, while the girls only played their opening round contests at the home fields of the higher seeds.
Meanwhile, the District 5-AA postseason has yet to begin as the heavy rains washed out Saturday’s baseball openers as well as today’s slated start of the softball event. The baseball games that were set for today have also been pushed back with both events doubtful of being able to commence tomorrow as well.
“Our fields are already soaked and without any relief from the rain in sight, I don’t know when we’ll be able to play on them,” commented Polk County head softball coach Bill Triplett this morning.
The veteran coach’s sentiment is echoed by his co-horts around the area as the weather prognosticators aren’t offering much hope for relief anytime soon.
With tournament brackets being revised continually, the latest lists as of press time this morning still had 5-AAA games planned for this evening, but most of the local coaches were sceptical they’d be played.
Down at Soddy-Daisy, all three Bradley County baseball teams are slated for elimination games with Bradley Central scheduled to face Rhea County at 5 p.m., followed by Walker Valley and Cleveland High dueling at 8.
Meanwhile, up at Rhea County High School the softball schedule has three games on tap with a win or go home battle between crosstown rivals Bradley and Cleveland planned for 4 p.m., followed by a pair of winner’s bracket contests between top-seeded Walker Valley and No. 4 Ooltewah at 6, plus defending state champion Soddy-Daisy battling the host Lady Eagles at 8.
Should tonight’s schedule be postponed, it would shift to tomorrow, once again weather permitting. Some consideration may also be given to playing the games at more than one site.
While pushing the games back another day may put championship games in jeopardy of not being able to be played by Friday’s deadline, the 5-AAA events have another roadblock to contend with as Walker Valley has graduation ceremonies Thursday evening.
Each district is required to send two teams to the region round of playoffs beginning on May 13, but a completion of the tournament is not necessary to determine which teams advance.
“The (District 5-AA) baseball bylaws state that if the tournament can be played, the top two teams from the regular season advance,” related coach Triplett. “I’m not sure what the softball bylaws state, but I’m going to look it up.”
In 2009, the 5-AAA baseball tournament played at Bradley was also plagued by heavy rains, forcing McMinn County to be declared the district champion taking the winner’s bracket final and Cleveland making an exciting run to claim the other region spot by claiming the loser’s bracket portion of the event.
“We don’t know what we’re going to have to do yet, but we may have to do something like that again,” remarked Bear head coach Travis Adams. “I just hope it (the rain) lets up enough to let us get in enough games to be able to decide it.”
The District 5-AAA Soccer Tournament played in the rain Saturday morning to wrap up its opening round and has a pair of games slated for Tuesday evening.
In the semifinals of the single-elimination event, fourth-seeded Cleveland will travel to No. 1 Ooltewah, while third-seeded Soddy-Daisy will journey to Athens to face No. 2 McMinn County. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts. The district title will be decided Thursday evening.