Simmons Says - Huge day for sports


Hopefully all WCHS and WCMS teams will be celebrating on the field tonight.

May 11, 2021 could be a day many in Warren County remember for a long time.

Rarely has there been more on the line for so many programs, with district titles, region dreams and so much more on the line across the board. It's win-or-go-home time for three Warren County teams, while two more will be looking to continue their dominance in district tournaments.

Let's start with the teams that are in must-win mode tonight. The WCHS soccer team has to beat Soddy Daisy at home (6 p.m. start) or its season is over. The Pioneers are hoping to get another shot at Cookeville in the district finals, but it won't happen unless the Pioneers take care of business at home against the tough Trojans.

If you recall the last time the two teams played, it was an epic dual. It took a shootout - after two scoreless overtimes - to decide a winner. Warren County prevailed in PKs, 5-4, to take down the Trojans at home.

The shootout at home against Soddy Daisy was wild back in March

 

While the Pioneer soccer team is looking to keep its season alive, two WCMS teams will be doing the same, including one just a few yards away. The WCMS softball team is playing at home at 5:30 p.m. in the TMSAA sectional semifinals against Stewart's Creek.

Across town, the WCMS baseball team will also be at home in the TMSAA sectional semifinals against Stewart's Creek. It's the first year the TMSAA has had a structured postseason that includes a state tournament and both the Lady Pioneers and Pioneers are two wins away from securing a bid to the big show.

Before both games, the WCMS teams plan to honor the late Gerald Tidwell, who passed away over the weekend while umpiring. Tidwell has served as WCMS principal for nearly a decade and both teams will be donating proceeds raised at the gate tonight to the Tidwell family. Gate admission at both games is $5.

As for the the WCHS baseball and softball teams, tonight's games are about district domination. The Pioneers will clash with Cookeville in hopes of winning their first district tournament title in seven years, while the Lady Pioneers will be playing the Lady Cavaliers in their first matchup of the District 6AAA softball tournament (game is in Rhea County).

It's only fitting that in the last year of District 6AAA - at least as its currently constructed - that Warren County and Cookeville will battle for a title on the diamond. The Pioneers and Cavaliers have seemingly dominated the action for a decade, with Cookeville claiming the lion's share of the postseason titles.

Coach Phillip King and his Pioneers would love nothing more than to add the final District 6AAA plaque to the local trophy case, as well as earn the right to host next week's region semifinal game at Patrick Ramsey Field. Tonight's district final starts at 6 p.m.

The Lady Pioneers have been waiting two weeks to get back on the field, last playing April 23 in an 8-2 victory over DeKalb County. The layoff couldn't have come at a worse time for the Lady Pioneers, who had won six games in the span of 11 days to finish the regular season 15-5.

Hopefully Warren County can get right back in the swing of things Tuesday against the Lady Cavs, who the Lady Pioneers smashed 19-2 and 10-0 in the regular season. With a win tonight (at 6 p.m. Central), Warren County would advance to play Rhea County tomorrow in the winner's bracket finals.

No matter what team you support in the spring in Warren County, you have the opportunity to watch the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers chase greatness tonight!


 

Usually I refrain to making predictions, but tonight just feels like the right time to make some picks - at least for the WCHS teams. As I know absolutely nothing about the Stewarts Creek teams coming in to play our WCMS teams, I don't think it would be right to even suggest I know how the outcomes will turn out in the TMSAA sectionals.

As for the District 6AAA tournament games for soccer, baseball and softball, I'm very aware of those teams. And pretty confident in saying that I'm going to be writing about three huge wins in the late hours tonight.

While the biggest win would be soccer prevailing to make sure it season continues, I think everybody is going to be circling the baseball game tonight since one team is going to be leaving with a trophy - and potentially some lifetime bragging rights.

There is no guarantee that Warren County and Cookeville play on the diamond going forward, although I have a hunch coach King will want to continue to face the Cavaliers in the future. Even if they do play in the coming years, the Pioneers and Cavaliers won't be district foes anymore. This is the last time the stakes will be this high for both teams in a matchup - and there is no reason for either to hold anything back.

For many years, the District 6AAA finals was a throwaway game, one where teams couldn't throw their top starters because a do-or-die region game was waiting just a couple days later. This season, both teams will have nearly a week to rest before the region begins Monday, May 17, so there shouldn't be any resistance in throwing their aces at Patrick Ramsey Field.

I don't think coach King will hesitate to run Layne Roberts back to the mound tonight. Roberts shut down the Cavaliers back on April 13, kickstarting a nine-game winning streak that changed Warren County's season. Since that night, Roberts has allowed just two earned runs in 26 district innings, including three complete-game shutouts.

I don't know if Layne will shut out Cookeville again tonight, but I expect his pitching, along with the hitting of Jace Brantley and the Holder brothers, to power the Pioneers to a 4-1 victory.


Over at soccer, I'm counting on John Jackson to keep scoring goals that power the Pioneers. Warren County should've beaten Soddy Daisy in regulation the last time, but allowed a late goal to the Trojans that eventually led to such a crazy final shootout. With fresh legs, I don't think the Pioneers will need overtimes or a shootout to take down the Trojans tonight.

I'm expecting a couple goals from Jackson, and another for Renato Rodriguez, in a 3-1 Warren County win.


Expect the Lady Pioneers to be celebrating a couple home runs tonight against Cookeville.

As for coach Gooby Martin's softball squad, I think it will just depend on when the bats blow up against Cookeville. Two weeks ago, the Lady Pioneers put up 13 runs on Cookeville in one inning. It was part of a 19-2 thumping, one that eventually helped the Lady Pioneers tie for the district title and win a tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed.

I could see it taking one trip around the Warren County lineup before the bats get going again, but I don't think Cookeville has the pitching to hold the Lady Pioneers in check through seven innings. At some point, Rhealee Johnson, Madison Hollis, Elia Atterson and Shelby Roberts are going to rake.

Warren County has won both games this year against Cookeville by double figures - I think they make it three tonight. I'm picking the Lady Pioneers to blow out the Lady Cavaliers 12-1, with Johnson and Sadie Simmons hitting home runs in the victory.


If I get all three of these games 100 percent correct, right down the the final score, I expect everybody in Warren County to have a subscription to the Warren County Sports Authority by lunchtime Wednesday. And if I don't, you should probably still get a subscription to the best local sports coverage!


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