The final District 5-AAA regular season game Wednesday affected four teams and their seeds for next week’s league tournament.
A 10-4 victory over McMinn County by 5-AAA newcomer East Hamilton (19-13, 9-3 District 5-AAA) gave the Hurricanes the No. 1 seed as they tied with Bradley Central (17-11, 9-3) for the regular season title, but earned the top spot due to the tie-breaker formula.
Wednesday’s outcome at Chattanooga State also dropped McMinn County (11-16, 2-10) into the No. 7 seed for the postseason, elevating Walker Valley (10-18, 2-10) into the sixth spot.
The district tournament will be played at Ooltewah’s A.C. “Bud” Ball Field beginning Wednesday with the fourth-seeded host Owls (15-12, 7-5), which won the tournament last year, taking on No. 5 Cleveland (10-18, 5-7) in the opener at 5 p.m. Third-seeded Soddy-Daisy (14-14, 8-4) will tangle with Walker Valley in the nightcap at 8 p.m.
A pair of games is scheduled for May 1, but the order of the contests won’t be determined until after the Ooltewah-Cleveland opening-round contest is finished.
“We have ‘Class Night’ that Thursday evening, so if we win the opener, we need to play the early game or else we’ll be minus-11 players,” explained tournament director and Owl head coach Brian Hitchcox.
If the Blue Raiders win the opener, they will play East Hamilton in the nightcap, but if the Owls are victorious they will face the Hurricanes at 4 p.m. on May 1.
The other pairing for that day has Bradley taking on McMinn County, either at 5 or 8 p.m., depending on the Owl-Raider outcome.
Two more games are set for May 2, with the Bear-Cherokee and Trojan-Mustang losers playing the first elimination game at 5, while the victors will meet in a winner’s bracket semifinal at 8 p.m.
A trio of contests is slated for May 3, but once again Ooltewah has a conflict that could affect the order in which they are played. “We have prom that night, so we need to play the early game,” related Coach Hitchcox.
That Saturday’s schedule has elimination games planned for 1 and 4 p.m., with the winner’s bracket championship to highlight the night at 7 p.m.
Should the Owls fall to Cleveland in the opening round, they would be in the originally planned 1 p.m. game against the loser of Game 5. If they beat the Raiders but then fall to East Hamilton, then they would face the winner of Game 6 and that game would have to be shifted from 4 to 1 p.m. If Ooltewah wins its first two games, the winner’s bracket final will move from 7 p.m. to the opening contest of the day, and the other games will be adjusted.
“We’ll just have to play it by ear and see how things happen, and adjust the game times from there,” remarked Coach Hitchcox.
The tournament will hold single-elimination games on May 5 and 6 before holding the championship tilt on May 7 at 4 p.m., with a second title game to follow if needed.
“Our district is very tough with every team capable of getting hot and advancing to the region. Just look at last year,” declared Bradley head coach Travis Adams.
In 2013, Soddy-Daisy was the No. 7 seed in the district tournament, but knocked off three higher seeded teams in a row to earn the runner-up trophy and move on to the region event.
The top two teams in the district tournament will advance to Region 3-AAA play on May 12 with the region title game set for May 14 and the TSSAA Sectional contests planned for May 16.