Coach: Mr. Keith Jeffers
Assistants: Mr. Joe Degroat, Ms. Sharon Cradic
Spring is finally here!! Are you ready for the April Showers?? You can stay dry AND support our Lady Bucs Softball Team! Purchase a 60" Pro-am Golf Umbrella for only $20.00! You must act soon, however, because supplies are limited! The umbrellas can be purchased from Ms. Carter in the front office. For additional information, contact Michelle Ramsaran at (423)794-0181. Don't let those raindrops keep falling on your head!
April 10th, 2014 9:21 pm by Jeff Birchfield
University High is on pace for its best year ever in softball, sporting an 18-3 record at the midway point of the season.
The Lady Bucs had the best record (6-1) of any local team in last weekend's Eastman Invitational tournament in Kingsport, although their only loss came at a bad time, a Round of 16 elimination game against Daniel Boone.
The Lady Bucs are led by a senior class which has the experience of two straight state tournament appearances and a first ever win at the state last season.
"That group has come together really well," University High head coach Keith Jeffers said. "One of the things that is helping us right now is their experience. They've been there and done that.
"But, we've got a long ways to go. We just have to prepare and keep getting better every game."
Barrett Wherry is a strong-armed center fielder and also the team's leadoff batter. She is among the team leaders in both RBIs and runs scored, although Wherry is best known for her performance at last season's state tournament. She hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and accounted for six RBIs in an 11-5 victory over South Fulton. The victory at the Murfreesboro Starplex was the program's first ever in the Class A tournament.
"My home runs were great, but I loved that we were able to win as a team," Wherry said. "It was exciting to win our first game ever at state. We have everyone back from that team but our starting pitcher, so we've gotten closer than we were last year.".
Taylor Treadway is a third baseman whom her coach said has a glove like a vacuum cleaner at times. She's also pretty effective on the offensive end with a team-leading 25 runs scored. She also ranks third in RBIs behind Ari Ramsaran and Wherry. More than stats, Treadway said chemistry and commitment set this senior group apart from so many other teams.
"I think all the seniors are pretty close and all of us are really committed," Treadway said. "All of us know what we are capable of, so we know the goals set for us."
A big goal is a return to the state, although their head coach said that alone will not determine how successful this season is. He wants them to simply focus on one game at a time.
It's a strategy that has worked so far with UH piling up wins against several larger schools including victories over David Crockett and Tennessee High from the Big Seven Conference.
"We're very confident going into any game," Treadway said. "We know what we're capable of and we never go into a game intimidated. Their school might be bigger than ours, but it doesn't mean they're better."
Belle Bright, the talented catcher, fractured her thumb and wrist catching a foul ball on Saturday and didn't get to play in the Boone loss. She is expected to recover from the injury and be back on the field in three weeks. She is certainly a big prescence for University High, the team leader with eight doubles. She also ranks second on the team in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Most important has been her job on the defensive end, catching for Johnson City Press All-Northeast Tennessee selection Haley Faulkner last season and for Tanner Horton, who has compiled a 16-3 record so far this season.
Bright explained that catching for each of them presented different challenges.
"Haley is more speed, while Tanner is more movement," Bright said. "Tanner just hits her spots really well. But, both are really good pitchers."
Kutu Hall is more of a role player, but she's made the most of limited opportunities with a .421 on-base percentage. Behind the scenes, coaches and teammates say she plays a valuable role making sure everyone is prepared and ready to go.
"I try to make sure everyone is at a good place with their attitudes," Hall said. "It matters what you carry on to the field with how you play. Attitude is everything in this sport. We've had a couple of rough patches, but we've been able to come together and play as a team when we've needed to."
Attitude is something that Bright emphasized as well.
She explained how the Lady Bucs have more confidence than a season ago, and with that she feels they have a better overall team.
Overall, the class has been a part of 89 wins as well as last year's historic postseason run. Right fielder Sarah Higginbotham is proud of how the group has helped elevate an already good UH program, which has five state tournament appearances over the last nine years, to the next level.
"Keith and (assistant coach) Joe (DeGroat) have been the best coaches," Higginbotham said. "All the seniors have been working hard to get to this point. Overall, we have a good starting nine and some good back-ups. We're really proud of how far we've come."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
Congratulations to our Lady Bucs Softball team on a fantastic showing in the Eastman Tournament!
Thursday: UH 3, Crockett 2
UH 2, Murfreesboro-Oakland 1
Saturday: UH 7, Union County 5
UH 8, Tennessee High 1
UH 17, Pendleton County 0
UH 2, Cookeville 1
Sunday: Daniel Boone 8, UH 1
Wow!!!! Great Games, Lady Bucs!!!!!!!
Link to Video of Softball game report from April 1, 2014
March 31st, 2014 8:58 pm by Jeff Birchfield
The University High softball team wasted no time taking care of business.
The Lady Bucs got off to a fast start against Unaka and cruised to a 10-0 victory in five innings Monday evening at Indian Trail Middle School.
Junior pitcher Tanner Horton gave up just two hits, and University High scored all 10 runs in the first inning to improve to 11-2 overall and 3-0 in the Watauga Valley Conference.
Lead-off batter Barrett Wherry got things going right away with a blooper to left field. She later added a two-run single, ending the day 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
"It meant a lot for us to jump on them early," Wherry said. "We kind of came into it, thinking we've got this, but I'm glad we took care of it early and didn't have to go seven innings. "
Unaka fell to 2-4 overall and 2-1 in league play. After a rough first inning which included starter Chelsea Grubb giving up eight hits and the defense committing two errors, the Lady Rangers settled down the rest of the game. Sarah Hardin gave up just two hits and one walk over the next three innings.
"We're young, starting four freshman," Unaka coach Dayton Buckles said. "Both of our pitchers are freshmen. We were trying something a little different. The second pitcher we brought in, she's been our starter, but she's been nervous at the start of some games. We thought it might help to switch, but we got down too far off the bat."
Much of it had to do with what was coming off University High's bats.
Horton hit a double and single in the first inning and ended 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
"It was a good day," Horton said. "We've been working really hard at the beginning of the season, and everything is working out. We're happy where we are right now."
Adding to the big inning, Taylor Treadway belted a two-run double, and Ari Ramsaran came through with a two-run single. Eight players in the Lady Bucs' starting lineup scored runs in the first inning including Belle Bright, Molle Cohee, Sarah Higginbottom, Lexi Crouthers and Madi Freeman.
"We really hit the ball well that first inning," UH head coach Keith Jeffers said. "We've done a lot of work on making contact with the ball and they were able to accomplish that, at least in the first inning. I don't know what happened after that."
The lack of additional runs didn't matter as the Lady Bucs' defense took care of the rest. Wherry, playing in center field, made a quick throw to second base to get Unaka's Shanda Matheson out on a fielder's choice for the first out of the third inning.
Despite losing the base runner, the Lady Rangers were able to get Jessie Matheson to third base and Lexi Perry to second later in the third inning. However, Horton shut down the scoring threat with a 1-3 ground out.
In one sense, it was simply doing what was expected by a UH program which has reached the state tournament in three of the last four years. So far this season, the Lady Bucs' only losses have come to Class AAA White County and to Class AA Carter in the championship game of the Gordonsville tournament.
Jeffers believes another tournament this weekend in Kingsport will reveal to him exactly how far his team has come this season.
"This weekend in the Eastman (Invitational) is going to determine a lot," he said. "We're going to play a lot of tough teams outside this area, as well as Crockett and a couple of other teams. But, I'm pleased with where we're at right now."
University School vs Unaka softball Image Gallery
April 1st, 2014 11:55 pm by Dave Boyd
© 2014 Johnson City Press
The following pictures were published in the Johnson City News and Neighbor (772nd Edition 3.15.14-3.21.14).
(click on pictures below to display large image)