By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
One can put the 2018 high school softball season down in the books with only one team in the Johnson and Carter County area making the state tournament. Unaka earned its way to Murfreesboro after knocking off Tellico Plains 2-1 on Saturday to reach the elite eight. The Rangers have a current record of 29-11.
Elizabethton finished their season at 25-15 losing to 10-time state champion Corryton-Gibbs 8-3 after leading for most of the game. Top honors go to the Cyclones and Rangers.
The “elite” squad was comprised with input from some well-respected coaches and sportswriters representing the two counties.
Trying to select our player of the year became a toss-up between Elizabethton’s duo of Maci West and Lauren Brickey. We were unable to break the deadlock so both will share player of the year honors.
West hit a torrid .508 with nine homers and 47 RBI’s. She also made only one error in the field all season.
Brickey’s numbers were just as phenomenal. She hit .444 with ten home runs and 50 RBI’s. She also recorded a record of 18-4 as a pitcher.
Unaka’s Corie Schuettler was our unanimous choice as the pitcher of the year. She racked up 29 wins on the mound with an ERA of 1.45 with 293 strikeouts.
All the above are seniors.
The Cyclones also landed shortstop Macie Herman and Kira Dillard on the squad.
Herman hit .365, scored 43 runs and was tabbed as the area’s best shortstop. Dillard ended the season hitting .370 and was one of the top defensive players in Northeast, Tennessee possessing great speed.
Unaka’s trio of Madison Pierce, Kaitlyn Weaver, and Madison Ensor made their way on the squad.
Pierce is hitting .425 in the leadoff spot and is a vacuum at her third base position.
Weaver is batting .360 and leads the team in home runs and RBI’s. Her play was outstanding in the regional championship game and sub-state victory.
Ensor was batting .400 when she went down with a torn meniscus in the District tournament.
Cloudland’s Kenzie Birchfield finds her way on the team after elevating the Highlanders into a much-improved program. She was the team’s top pitcher and hit .401 on the season.
Happy Valley’s Kat Roberts was named on every ballot. Roberts had a remarkable on-base percentage and was of the best defensive centerfielders in the area.
Johnson County’s sophomore duo, Hannah Brooks and Natalie Winters rounded out the elite squad while playing in every game during the
Brooks hit a torrid .513 and was intentional walked more than any player in Northeast, Tennessee. She also led the team in slugging percentage.
Winters finished the year hitting .375 and had an on-base percentage of .502 as a leadoff hitting.
Johnson County’s freshman catcher Emmy Miller was selected as the top newcomer edging Happy Valley’s freshmen duo of Abby Holt and Olivia Absher.
Miller batted .386 and turned some head with her outstanding defensive play behind the plate as the starting catcher.
Unaka’s Kenneth Chambers was tabbed as Coach of the year after advancing his Lady Rangers to the state tournament for the second consecutive season.
All Johnson / Carter
Co-Players of the year:
Maci West, Lauren Brickey,
Pitcher of the year:
Corie Schuettler, Unaka
Most Promising Underclassman: Emmy Miller, Johnson County
Coach of the year:
Kenneth Chambers, Unaka
Macie Herman, Kira Dillard
Madison Pierce, Kaitlyn Weaver, Madison Ensor
Sarah Tipton, Erika Potter, Unaka; Haley Fair, Maggie Johnson, Elizabethton; Abby Holt, Olivia Absher, Happy Valley; Rein Strickland, Jasmine Birchfield, Cloudland, Sara Orr, Bailey Andrews, Hampton; Courtney Brooks, Lindsey Wills, Johnson County.