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Spring Sports Superlatives: Boone's Ackerman, Dobyns-Bennett's Riffle find Sweet spot

Douglas Fritz • May 30, 2019 at 12:35 AM

Daniel Boone won more games than any softball team in the state, and Megan Ackerman seemed to be front and center in nearly all of those victories.

The Lady Trailblazers’ senior was honored Wednesday as the Kingsport Times News/Johnson City Press Sweet Sixteen softball player of the year.

At the plate, Ackerman crushed eight home runs and added 62 RBIs. She had 20 doubles and two triples, giving her an impressive 30 extra-base hits in 154 at-bats.

As good as she was in the batter’s box, the Chattanooga State signee was equally tough in the circle. In 161 1/3 innings, she allowed only 136 hits with 16 walks and 121 strikeouts. Her record was 25-3 and she had an ERA of 1.17.

Ackerman helped Boone win 44 of its 51 games and capture Big Seven Conference and District 1-AAA titles before getting clipped by eventual state champion Jefferson County in the region semifinals.

Dobyns-Bennett’s Morgan Riffle was chosen as the pitcher of the year. She led Northeast Tennessee in strikeouts (164) and WHIP (0.940) during the regular season and was second in ERA (1.42).

Sullivan East’s Michael Forrester was selected as coach of the year after leading the Lady Patriots to their first-ever Region 1-AA championship. East won 28 games and lost by just three runs to Alcoa in a bid for a state tournament berth. Forrester edged Cloudland’s Matt Birchfield for the honor. Birchfield turned around a longtime-struggling program, leading the Lady Highlanders to a 22-15 record.

Here is the 2019 version of the annual team, followed by spring sports superlatives for soccer, tennis and track:

Sweet Sixteen

Player of the Year

Megan Ackerman, Daniel Boone

Coach of the Year

Michael Forrester, Sullivan East

Pitcher of the Year

Morgan Riffle, Dobyns-Bennett


1. Halie Hawkins, Unicoi County

2. Jaycie Jenkins, Daniel Boone

3. Chelsea Sams, Sullivan East

4. Megan Ackerman, Daniel Boone

5. Kylee Wolfe, Sullivan East

6. Sejal Neas, Science Hill

7. Sam Chavez, Unicoi County

8. Kasey Bennett, Science Hill

9. Madison Pierce, Unaka


Laura Dade, Sullivan South

Aliyah Crowley, Volunteer

Erika Potter, Unaka


Morgan Riffle, Dobyns-Bennett

Megan Ackerman, Daniel Boone

Nickolette Ferguson, Daniel Boone

Allee Griffith, Unicoi County

Kara Weems, David Crockett


 — Hawkins batted .525 with an Northeast Tennessee-best 50 stolen bases

 — Jenkins had 33 extra-base hits and 60 RBIs

 — Sams hit an NET-best 22 home runs, which was also a school record

 — Wolfe was second in NET with 19 homers

 — Neas totaled 45 RBIs at the plate and 170 strikeouts in the circle

 — Chavez batted .460 with 44 RBIs

 — Bennett hit .462 with 48 runs scored

 — Pierce totaled 20 extra-base hits to go along with a .405 batting average

 — Dade batted .421 with 41 RBIs

 — Crawley belted nine homers with an average of .446

 — Potter totaled 26 extra-base hits with 44 RBIs and batted .406

 — Ferguson was tied for second in NET in strikeouts (145) and was third in ERA (1.56) in the regular season

 — Griffith led Northeast Tennessee with 29 wins

 — Weems was tied for second in strikeouts (145) in the regular season and was fifth in WHIP (1.240)

Spring Sports Superlatives


Player of the Year

Will Arrowood, Dobyns-Bennett


Jack Perry, Dobyns-Bennett


Jacob Park, Dobyns-Bennett


David Strickland, Science Hill



Griffen Nickels, Science Hill


Lainey Hill, Dobyns-Bennett


Kelly Lane, Science Hill


Boys athlete

Tanner Henry, Dobyns-Bennett

Girls athlete

Jenna Hutchins, Science Hill

Boys’ best field

Samuel Cleek, Dobyns-Bennett

Girls’ best field

Madison Cowan, Sullivan South


Anthony Jones, Science Hill

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