Preps: BA's path to a fourth straight baseball title not a smooth one

Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 9:47pm

Is there a legitimate shot for Brentwood Academy to four-peat?

With about a month left in the baseball season, the Eagles appear to have their work cut out for them as they go for a record fourth straight DII-AA state championship.

Of course, the Eagles (4-6) have done things the hard way in the past.

“All the teams [in DII Middle/East Region] are pretty close in the standings at this point,” coach Buddy Alexander, a 15-year veteran, said. “MBA and Ryan seem to be a little ahead of the pack, but the rest of us are bunched in the middle, very little difference between us.”

BA is 3-3 in the region, heading into a key three-game series this weekend at Chattanooga Baylor. After that, teams like BA will scramble to the finish in search of a high seed for the tournament, which opens in mid-May at home sites.

Two years ago, the Eagles fought their way out of the losers bracket and beat Baylor twice on the final day to claim the region tournament title. Last year, they allowed MUS to score nine runs in the top of the first in the championship game then fought back for a 17-14 victory.

However, key graduation losses, most notably 2010 state tournament MVP Wil Blalock, a pitcher/first baseman, who had eight RBI in the championship game, and outstanding leadoff batter and centerfielder Cody Nelson, hit BA hard this season.

“We were reeling a bit after losing four quality seniors,” Alexander said. “They were very hard to replace.”

Hunter Wood (3-0) heads the pitching stagg, and outfielder Taylor Greene is the leading hitter.

Last year the Eagles became the first team in TSSAA history to win three straight baseball championships.

They would like to add their name into another chapter of uncharted baseball territory. It’s clear that it won’t be easy.

“We have to play better defense,” Alexander said. “It’s simply not adequate to give teams an average of three and a half to four outs an inning and expect good results. That has to improve for us to play at a high level.”

• Lefty battery at NCS: Nashville Christian School may be the only softball team in Nashville with a lefthanded pitcher/catcher battery.

When she’s on the mound, sophomore southpaw Savannah Womack (4-1) pitches to lefty Kayla Baker, a freshman catcher for first-year coach Cooper Wood. Womack bats right, while Baker is left-handed all the way.

Those two, along with senior centerfielder Haley McCormick, have helped lead NCS to a 6-3 record, with a 4-1 District 10-A mark as the Eagles challenge for first. McCormick, who recently had a 6-for-7 hitting stretch, is batting .374.

Next up for the Eagles is a district home game against Clarksville Academy, 4:30 p.m. Monday, followed a visit to Houston County on Tuesday.

Nipper-Hancock sportsmanship awards: The annual Walter Nipper-A.D. Hancock Civitan Sportsmanship awards will be presented following a luncheon Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Swett’s Restaurant.

Basketball teams, which won either their region or state championships in their respective divisions, all will have an honoree. Also, a coach of the year will be named.

Other upcoming honor events will include the annual Nashville Metro Schools Hall of Fame luncheon April 12 at L.P. Field Tuesday followed by the prestigious Moss-Oliver awards April 13 at Swett’s Restaurant.

Doug Hall Relays April 16 at MBA: Montgomery Bell Academy will host the 25th annual Doug Hall Relays for 20 boys and 20 girls teams April 16 at the Big Red track.

The all-relays event honors the former Hillwood coach who passed away in 1986 who placed a strong emphasis on the relay events.

Events begin at 9:30 a.m. and run through the finals, which commence at 5 p.m.

Defending champs are MBA (boys) and M.L. King, which became the Nashville public school girls’ team to win the Hall championship since 1993.

McGavock’s McKinley to Bethel: Standout McGavock High School quarterback Kody McKinley has decided to sign with Bethel University. McKinley led McGavock to the Class 6A playoffs last season

He will sign Wednesday 9:30 a.m. and McGavock.